3 Essential Rules to Make Your Content Relevant in Any Market

Content MarketingThere’s no doubt that the evolution of inbound marketing has completely changed how the average consumer can interact with the companies that they love. By developing original, timely content that relates to their audience’s core needs and solves real problems, savvy organizations can organically build their following and take control of their destiny.

It sounds easy enough, but effective content marketing is the epitome of something that’s easy to say and hard to do.

Different markets are, of course, different, and what works in one market might not work in another. Good content marketing allows businesses to quickly fill their website or social media presence with real followers that respond genuinely to what they produce and become true advocates online, while poorly targeted or conceived ideas can be downright harmful to the development of your business.

Context is critical to the development of effective content, but there are some core principles that hold true regardless of circumstance. By making quality content based on a deep understanding of yourself and your customer base, you’ll be able to build a loyal following and create relevant content regardless of market conditions.

Here are the three essential rules for making your content relevant in any market.

1. Know Thyself

Above all else, effective content is based on a deep understanding of who you are, what your brand stands for, and the unique advantages you hold over your direct competitors. The first step to great content independent of market is speaking to your customers in a way that they’ll relate to while emphasizing your strengths.

Here are a few tricks to help clarify your brand, position your content effectively in any market, and really stand out to consumers:

-       Prioritize the Why: Almost all companies understand what they do (I sell widgets!), but many lack a clear understanding of why they do it (because I need a new Lexus isn’t something most consumers respond to particularly well). Material things that distinguish your products or services are very important, offering a better product than your competitors at a lower cost is of course extremely appealing, but just as important to building a loyal following is giving them the opportunity to relate to you on an emotional level. The emotional appeal is perhaps the most effective way to really engage and relate to potential followers as it invests them in your success on a much deeper level.

Consider a clear and simple example. What’s a more effective pitch?
  • “Our widgets are higher quality and last longer, so they run a bit more expensive than the other guy’s but you’ll get more out of them.”
  • “We believe that it’s fundamentally unfair that so many companies require you to buy a new widget every few years. We provide our customers with a high-quality widget that will stand the test of time.”

That why should be the foundation of the content that you produce; it is your thesis and everything else about your company becomes its proof. This holds true for virtually any industry in any market conditions.

Hope

Emotional appeals work!

-       Play to Your Strengths: Every organization has strengths and limitations, and one of the most important steps to great content is honestly evaluating where you hold leverageable advantages and where you’re a little fragile. Prioritize the elements of your business that stand out against your competitors and design content in the areas that you’re most comfortable with. Expansion and growth are great, but there’s a lot to be said for staying in your lane and becoming a true expert in a specific area.

-       Be Deeply Authentic: People are tired. They’re tired of being overwhelmed, tired of having to read the fine print, and tired of having to constantly protect themselves from one form of corporate exploitation or another. Consumers have learned to be wary; to constantly question and always search for the catch before signing on the dotted line.

Perhaps the best action a business can take is to position itself as a profoundly honest and authentic voice. By using clear and understandable language in your business copy, being as transparent as possible, and relating with your customers on a human level you will immediately stand out from the crowd and generate incredible customer loyalty.

2. Know Your Customer

After understanding your business’s identity, the next key to relevant content is knowing your customers and what they’re looking for. Deep research into their unique wants and needs will give you the foundation of understanding necessary to author and position effective content.

Answering the following questions is an important step towards knowing how to appeal to your customers:

-       What Do They Look Like? I mean this quite literally. Effectively targeting content starts with a concrete understanding of the demographics of your marketplace. This includes knowing basic information like your target customer’s age, gender, ethnicity, education level, and income bracket. Taking this information and using it to create an average customer profile will allow you to accurately price your products, skillfully position your content, and use maximally effective language.

-       Why Are They At Your Site? Put another way, what are the unique circumstances in their life that drove them to search for you? This could appear to be quite obvious, but it’s often incredibly valuable to look below the surface in order to really understand your customers.

Let’s say you’re a contractor that helps people remodel their homes. The basic answer to this question is “because they want to remodel.” But sometimes the motivation is more nuanced than that. They want a new kitchen, but why? Are they self-conscious about appearances? Do they want to validate something positive that just happened in their life? Do they need more space because their family is getting larger or changing in some core way? These are all questions that can result in deeply emotional answers, and providing content that speaks to those deeper emotions is a surefire way to resonate with potential customers.

Why Am I Here?

It’s a big question, and finding the right answer will get you results.

-       What Does Their Best Case Scenario Look Like? Even if only on a subconscious level, most people know what they’re looking for before they find it. One of the most important roles your content fulfills is appearing similar to that thing they’re looking for. Knowing your customer’s demographics and why they’re looking for your services will help you gain an understanding of their best case scenario, which you can then aspire to match.

3. Put In The Effort

There are endless numbers of books, articles, videos, and podcasts that include suggestions on how to market your content effectively. This is one of them! But the reality is that it’s often not very complicated: provide a quality product, put it in the hands of your customers, and make it relevant. Put in the effort, and you’ll absolutely get a response.

Here are some ways to maximize the response you get and ensure that your content is truly quality:

-       Have a Plan: Content marketing isn’t just a blog post or a cute infographic. It’s an integrated approach to marketing that is built around providing your following with the stuff that they want. This requires a plan that avoids the “random acts of marketing” that many companies tend to fall in to. By marrying the deep understanding of your brand that you achieved in the first section with the knowledge of the consumer that you pulled from the second section, it should be much easier to develop clear timelines and reachable goals for your content marketing.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and they didn’t just go around putting bricks wherever they felt like. A clear blueprint is necessary for success!

-       Find the Sweet Spot: Even after doing all the research and maximizing your initial understanding of the market in question, a certain amount of trial and error is required to identify the content that your customers will really respond to. Be comfortable with this process, and have confidence when trying variations on the things you do well. Understand that most companies do not succeed on their original business plans, and often serendipitously happen upon something that ends up redefining their business. Facebook started as a picture rating site and transformed itself into a monolithic social network when opportunity struck.

SweetSpot

Sometimes we as entrepreneurs can get a little too clever. If your following tends to respond strongly to a certain kind of content, there’s no shame in making more of that. In content marketing it comes down to giving the people what they want!

-       Take the Time: It may be obvious, but there’s no replacement for hard work. Creating a deep, relevant, well positioned library of content isn’t something that happens overnight. It requires a clear plan, deep understanding of your clientele, and high level of effort. While there are more and less efficient ways to work, there are no shortcuts here. Ultimately there is a direct relationship between the amount of effort you put into your work and what you get out of it.

Developing great content isn’t easy, and it’s even more difficult to apply that content to divergent or difficult market conditions. By understanding your business, knowing what your customers want, and putting in the effort necessary to have your content writers produce consistently great content you will build a solid foundation for your future inbound marketing endeavors regardless of market context!

Free Ebyline Guide

Don't Let a Bad Content Writer Damage Your Brand

The new content marketing basics anyone can use

Subscribe to the latest content strategies...

About Allen Narcisse

Allen is co-founder of Ebyline, a software company that makes quality content easy for publishers and brands. Follow Allen on Twitter.

css.php