Content marketing is more important than ever these days – thanks to the insanely high levels of competition that exist online. Creating content pieces that include strategic long-tail keywords or cover the topics that are commonly searched can get your website’s name to the top of the SERPs list.
However, just having a foolproof keyword strategy is not enough if you want to truly connect with customers. Although content marketing is a top priority for most brands these days, many struggle to meaningfully connect with their audiences. 63% of customers report that they have engaged with content that was disappointing, which led to 23% agreeing that they would not visit that website again.
One of the best ways to ensure your content is actually engaging is to keep it focused on your customers – not just your brand goals. Your content needs to offer actionable answers to burning questions. If you’re ready to switch up your content strategy for the better, here are three ideas to help gear your efforts more towards your customers.
1. Actually Listen to Their Complaints
Customer reviews can do a lot more than just help your local SEO and build trust with future customers (although they are certainly great for that). Customer reviews are the perfect little snippets of content that shed a light on how your audience actually feels about your brand – both the positive and the negative. Therefore, by listening to what they have to say, your content can further revolve around the topics that matter the most.
One of the best ways to know where your content needs to shift in order to be more customer-focused is by taking a look at the most common pain points. Although many business owners don’t like looking at negative feedback, it is quite beneficial, primarily for making changes and improvements.
Look at the negative reviews and see what the most common issues are.
- Do people not understand how to use the product correctly?
- Are they having a difficult time getting in touch with customer service?
- What areas could use improvement or further explanation?
Take Trustpilot’s reviews as an example.
Most were positive, but several customers did complain about some issues contacting customer support. Rather than just let these comments slide, Trustpilot addressed the issue head on with content pieces regarding the best ways to contact customer support, as well as some “self-help” focused pieces to explain how users could fix many of the most common issues on their own.
By using negative feedback to drive content campaigns, you can provide assistance and create the kind of messaging that is truly meaningful to readers. Once you spot these recurring complaints, your content team can take the opportunity to address them in relevant pieces.
2. Focus on Relationship Building Over Sales
There is no bigger turnoff to a customer than the feeling of being aggressively “sold to.” This is why the stereotype of the pushy car salesman instantly stirs up negative feelings with most customers. No one wants to be pushed into buying something, and they will generally feel like they are being scammed or lied to if a brand is super pushy and promotional. In fact, Sprout Social’s survey found that the number one reason why a customer was annoyed with a brand was when their content was simply too promotional and one-sided.
Unfortunately, many simply view content marketing as a sales tool and nothing more. Although content is certainly linked to conversions, don’t use it as just another method to push a sale. Instead, focus on using it as a tool to build brand recognition and trust through thoughtful and meaningful insight that fulfills customer’s needs.
This requires your marketing team to really understand who your audience is, and more importantly, who it isn’t. You will need to know what they are looking for in the first place. For example, in B2B marketing, content preferences can change depending on how far along a customer stands on the buyer’s journey. In the early stages, customers would rather have basic informational content, whereas more detailed analyst reports and case studies are preferred during the later stages. Try to keep your early stage content based around less aggressive topics like common questions, explanations, best practices, etc.
3. Experiment to See What Resonates
Interactive content, video marketing, podcasts, and e-books are all trendy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will vibe with your audience. Switching up your content routine can help to attract new segments and connect better with current audiences. However, changing things too much could also cause you to lose focus and breed inconsistency.
As you start to make changes towards a more customer-focused content strategy, be sure that these modifications are driving results. Do some trial and error to see what ones perform best with your specific audience or with certain segments. Google Analytics and audience analysis are going to be your best friends to help determine what’s resonating.
Don’t be afraid to ask customers for the kind of content they want to see. Social media polling is a great tool here for high engagement – like what Buffer did via Twitter poll. It only takes one click for a follower to share their opinion and this information greatly helped Buffer to understand what topics were actually interesting to their readers.
You can also create an email survey or conduct some market research with focus groups as well.
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, so why wouldn’t you keep them a priority when it comes to content? Don’t get too caught up in the mindset of creating content just because it is trendy, promotional, or only relevant to your sales goals. Always keep your customer’s interests at heart and use their preferences as a guide for more engaging content.