Whilst the growth of content marketing is indisputable, none of it means anything unless you have an audience.
With the focus on creating content that is engaging, compelling and has real meaning to be useful to drive profitable action, just by thinking that producing the content is enough, you fall at the first hurdle.
The Conductor & Orchestra Scenario
Content cannot stand on its own. It’s like a conductor with his orchestra without the array of instruments. The conductor may be at the top of his game, but it doesn’t mean anything unless the instruments are playing in cohesion. This is the same for content marketing. You can’t sell to an audience who aren’t listening, or not aware of what you stand for.
An audience can be described as a group who share a common theme and are prepared to listen to what you have to say. When you create information that your audience can relate to, this is where you begin to build credibility and an eventual sales channel.
Six Key Changes To Grow An Audience
This is one thing I have learnt from the past 12 months in that to build an audience (and grow a community), it has to be nurtured. Here are six key changes from this year for my business:
1 – You have to be committed. The webmails to our audience were quite sporadic in terms of not having a defined time when they were sent out. We now send out to our audience every week a digest of recent articles.
2 – You have to be consistent. According to Hubspot, companies that blog get 55% more web traffic and 70% more leads than those who don’t. Rather than intermittent articles, if you create more interesting articles on a regular basis you drive more traffic.
3 – Not every social media channel works. It was once the premise that you create your article and then share on every platform possible. From looking at the analytics for The ID Group, there is a much higher readership when articles are shared on Twitter and LinkedIn.
4 – Social media is a distribution channel, not the source. We can’t think that the social media sites are places to grow our content, this is rented space that doesn’t belong to us. Since we embraced our website as a resource (in October) that now combines the blog, to have everything in one place has increased site visits by 50%.
5 – Create your own groups on social media channels. This then allows you to have a voice that supports a common theme that you stand behind. Rather get lost in the noise, creating your own group highlights your expertise in the marketplace. For instance, have created a local group on Linked.
6 – Don’t automate. The world is becoming dehumanised with communications channels becoming robotic with automated messages from the LinkedIn ‘I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn’ template to the Direct Message on Twitter when you connect to then receive an automated message inviting you to like a virtual stranger on Facebook. Social media should be about an opportunity to grow stronger relationships, not treat it as a game to collect numbers.
To Sum Up
The secret to driving profitable action is to have an audience who understand what you stand for, believe in you and more importantly you have their attention. If this works alongside a content marketing strategy to build and interact with your audience, you are head and shoulders above the competition as you have a marketplace to sell to.