The customer is always right. In this modern age of content marketing, this axiom rings particularly true. Targeted material, which reads to your audience like it was perfectly tailored for them, is the golden goose of content marketing.
Developing this kind of content, however, takes time and effort. Research into your audience and their needs comes first— you can’t take shots in the dark as to what your audience wants. Depending on their current place in the buying process, you should be able to increase awareness of your product, engage customer curiosity, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and crucially, foster an attitude and environment suited for sales.
How does this all come together? You’ll need to be able to guide your readers every step of the way, encouraging them through your site. This will be difficult with a “one size fits all” method—and this is where user-centric content comes in.
What is a User-Centric Content Strategy?
More and more B2B services are disassociating themselves from the “parasitic” connotations of search engine optimization, and you should too. Begin to focus more on accessibility for people, not for search engines themselves. Sure, you still have to use the basic elements, like titles, metadata, snippets, and alt-text, but don’t go so far overboard that human readers are scared away.
How does this work? It takes a bit of a macro perspective, and looking at your site in a new way
# 1. Understand your audience
Jane of iBlogZone notes that you must know who will read your post and whether it will be beneficial or practical for your readers. Most importantly, ask yourself if the article you are offering is something new, and not something that can be read in dozens of other places.
# 2. Set clear objectives
Set clear objectives for both your readers and yourself. What do you want to happen for your potential clients? What do you want to happen in your own business?
# 3. Define the medium of interaction
Will this particular topic be more suited to a video, a photo essay, or a straight-up article? Timing is also important, whether it be date or time of day. When do your readers visit your site? Social media is a powerful tool in sharing your content. Facebook in particular has a huge reach that a content strategy in this platform should be utilized by businesses.
# 4. Final checks for sharing potential
Before you publish, conduct final checks for sharing potential. Will your readers think your stuff is worthy of passing on? Does your content give readers enough information to turn them into customers? Is your post evergreen? Would you link the article to your own friends?
This all-encompassing strategy focuses on the primary agents interacting with your site—your customers and yourself. If you optimize your site following these precepts, modern search engines (which have been trained to ignore spammy sites designed for their predecessors) will be able to follow.
How Does this Strategy Benefit Businesses?
Let’s take a look at just how effective adopting the user-centric content strategy is:
- It will increase awareness of your product. By keeping your audiences’ tastes in mind, you will be able to communicate your company’s services effectively.
- It will promote positive comparisons. By creating a message that speaks directly to your clients, they can differentiate your business from your competitors, and see you as a viable alternative.
- It will provide a rich user experience. By attending to your customer’s needs, you will foster trust. Eventually, your business will engender satisfaction, and encourage continued patronage.
- It will drive sales. By giving your clients ample information about your products and services, they will make informed purchasing decisions with a business that inspires confidence.
- It will facilitate discovery. This goes full circle. Once you have solidified your audience base, word of the merits of your business will spread, bringing in repeat and new customers.
In addition to these benefits, your ability to communicate will be enhanced, which is key to creating more and more connections. People love that personal touch, and will return to a business where they feel that their needs are being specifically catered to.
Where Do You Start?
# 1. Buyer’s personas
The first step in crafting an engaging user experience is by creating several buyer’s personas. These are detailed profiles on your potential customers, focusing on their interests and behaviors. You’ll need to do considerable research, but the data will be invaluable.
# 2. Gather your resources
Begin by gathering your resources. Interview your customers, examine your databases, speak with your PR people. The thing to remember is that you’re looking at the people themselves, not the companies they’re part of. Review both demographics (employment details, location, budget) and behavioral information (motivation, expectations, concerns, purchasing potential, and needs).
Social networking sites is a great platform to know the pulse of your customers.A content strategy for your company’s Facebook page should be implemented because the insights and information that your customers give when participating in the discussions there are highly valuable.
# 3. Develop personas
Once you’ve got the hard data, begin developing personas. Constructing personas will let you gain insight on your target audience. The common points of interest between these personas will go a long way towards determining the direction of your content plan.
Remember, getting people to visit your site is only half the battle. The harder part is getting them to stay and do business with you. Employing a user-centric content strategy will engender a feeling of personal relationship, which is critical in the impersonal, anonymous nature of online interactions. Expend adequate time and resources in capturing the essence of the brick-and-mortar businesses of old, with a dedicated clientele and that special feeling of patronage.
Give these strategies a shot, and see if they work for your particular industry. Track the effects of your techniques, analyze your use of appropriate social networks, and above all, continuously tweak and improve.
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Images: ”User centric, customer centered business diagram / Shutterstock.com“