Aside from the visual impact of your web presence, your company name and slogan, your corporate blog is the single most important audience-building opportunity you have as an organization.
While microblogging is a great way to get clicks and views, the signal-to-noise ratio is incredibly high, and platforms tend to be ephemeral. No one reads every tweet or looks at every Instagram post from the brands they follow.
Audience building means creating a much stickier interaction with potential customers or clients by actively soliciting their subscription or loyalty to your blog.
Target Audience Market Research
Before you relaunch a corporate blog, take a step back and work out a blog strategy that includes both the kinds of content you want to feature on your blog and how you plan to go about building a blog audience.
If you haven’t nailed down your buyer personas, you need to go back to this step in the communications strategy process and dig deeper. Make sure you know the basics about your ideal customers, like age, gender, location, income, and education levels.
This is the step most people struggle with the most. You’ve created a great product or offer a great service, so everyone should buy from you, right?
Wrong. You really need to do some market research. You also need to compare your initial conclusions with the evidence you acquire as you start to make sales.
For instance, if you are marketing a book set during WWII, you might conclude your primary audience was female baby boomers (since most readers are female). As they age, they reflect on their own youth and the contrast between their era and that of their mothers.
You might find, however, that this was a faulty premise, and that the book resonates more with those less familiar with the second world war, who haven’t grown up listening to their parents’ stories about rationing, air raid shelters, and what was branded as the war to end all wars.
The details you really need to acquire are the why: what goal does your customer want to achieve and what problem is it they’re trying to solve? Who influences the decision to purchase?
Brand Affinities and Website Audiences
Long before vloggers and influencers were a thing, the humble book blurb was a prime example of an influencer. If Stephen King says your book is a masterful thriller that gave him chills, you will pick up a lot of sales from Stephen King fans who can only get a new dose of their favorite author once a year or so. The author blurb is also an example of brand affinities.
Think peanut butter and jelly. Then think about what brand of peanut butter is paired most often in your mind with a specific brand of jelly, and there you have an example of brand affinity. These affinities can also be generated by algorithms, which indicate that if you read this, you might/probably will like this, that, and the other thing.
Unfortunately, not all algorithms are created equally. You may have bought the latest Danielle Steele as a present for your friend who loves romance novels. That’s not a good predictor of books you yourself will want to buy if you’re a hard-core sci-fi fan, and the algorithm might then fail.
Defining Your Target Audience
Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle illustrates the approach you need to take in building your blog audience. It can help you define your content strategy initially, and it can then help you build your blog audience.
First, you'll need to answer a few basic questions about your business. Why do you do what you do? What’s your passion?
Is it to make the best quality sweet garlic sauce the world has ever known? Is it to make it easier for people to transfer money globally without exorbitant fees? Is it to create a destination people will want to return to annually?
Once you know the answer to these questions and have created content that explains your reason for being in business, you can move on to the how.
How, precisely, did you come up with the recipe for your secret sauce? How can you still make money on global funds transfers if you're charging lower fees than your competitors? What is it about your particular destination that makes people want to visit again and again? What bumps did you experience along the way from startup to success?
Then — and only then — should your content begin to delve into what makes your product or service unique. It may be your actual product (although there will be imitators sooner or later, especially if you’re successful).
It may be your customer service and user experience. Or, it may be your particular niche. If you’re selling e-bikes, you want to reach a cross section of cyclists and environmentalists. The demographics of your customers may vary based on terrain: you may find they skew lower in age in mountainous terrain than in flat areas of the world.
Audience Building through Blog Distribution
You have to start somewhere, and building a solid, engaged following on various social media platforms is a marathon, not a sprint. Part of building your customer personas should include their social media habits.
How much time do they spend on Facebook? Are they professionals who are active on LinkedIn? Have they stuck with Twitter, or is their interest in that platform tapering off? What about Instagram and Pinterest?
It’s easy to repurpose your blog content for all these social networks, and to drive engagement and increase your blog audience by asking questions, soliciting feedback, doing the occasional survey, and asking and answering questions on Quora and Reddit.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that since you built it, they will come. Generating an editorial calendar for blog content and posting that content is only the beginning. Quality content that’s optimized for search engines will get attention, but don’t forget the single most important call-to-action once you have people on your website and reading your blog is to ask them to keep coming back.
Use guest posts written by popular names in your industry to drum up interest and encourage website users to come back. Sharing your guest blogs on social media platforms used by both your own company and that of the writer, all while linking back to your blog posts, is a good way to establish strong branding and grow your blog.
Feel free to offer incentives to website users in the form of more content that is available exclusively to subscribers. Depending on your business type, that free content might be a white paper, a customer success story, or an invitation to preview the next season’s wares. It could also include a first-time buyer discount in exchange for an email sign up to your blog.
Trust an Expert When Starting a Blog
When starting a blog and reimaging brand strategy for your business, it can pay to trust an expert. You are skilled at what you do and your time is valuable. It's often most efficient if you focus on that and allow an outsourced team of writers, social media gurus, and content management experts to manage your content marketing and find your target audience.
From custom blog posts to guest blog partnerships, from user-friendly Facebook ads to email marketing, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing can help. Our team of expert content and copywriters, social media experts, and brand strategists will take the work off your hands and guide you toward the blog you need to draw in your target audience online.
Contact us today for more information!