Bells and whistles don't make happy website audiences. So what does? To sum it up with one word: content.
If that sounds vague, don’t stress your pretty little head, because in this blog we’re getting incredibly specific on tips you can apply hardcore to targeting, attracting and keeping your audience.
Know Your Key Audience
First, take the time to identify the audience segments your online presence will be targeting. This is an absolutely crucial first step. Many businesses have a good grip on which audiences they have the best traction with, but that’s not always who their website is speaking to or reaching. This disconnect is a huge problem.
Knowing your audience will help you identify the key features your site must include. You’ll need to make sure you’re including whatever it is that your target audience will want to be able to learn, buy or experience on your website.
Ask yourself a few questions, including:
• What are you trying to accomplish with the website?
• Who needs to visit the website in order for you to accomplish these things?
• What do they care about?
• How much prior knowledge do they have about your organization and mission?
• Is there any important or defining demographic information?
• What will they see as the reason for visiting your websites?
If you have multiple audiences, you can repeat these questions for each, but try to tailor your site to your key audience.
Aha, the magic word: content. Technically, this can be a halfhearted, poorly-written blog thrown onto your website or an unattractive pop quiz that greets your website visitors, but I’m talking about content that your audience desires. This requires you getting into their head and asking yourself what it is that they crave, want to learn, enjoy laughing at, or want to understand more.
Here are a few ideas to stir up your creativity. With each of these, ask yourself: Is this what my audience desires? Or, how can I use this to feed my audience what they desire?
Besides being a great avenue for fabulous content that many audiences will enjoy, using podcasting in your online strategy can also include a hidden treasure map straight to your website.
How, you ask? Notes from the podcast show. You see, most great podcasts in a professional or business niche will want to have show notes that listeners can refer to, with links to anything mentioned on the episode. Most people are driving or working out while listening to podcasts, so naturally are unable to take notes. But the best place to host these podcast notes is on your blog, which is - you guessed it! - on your website.
By mentioning on your podcast that the show notes are available on your blog, you’ll generate targeted, engaged traffic to your site as people check out the notes. It’s a fantastic tactic to give helpful content to your audience, engage across multiple platforms and utilize some awesome SEO. Make sure you create a short, memorable link that people can easily recall when they’re ready to view the notes after listening.
Create an Insane Blog
Notice the word insane. I’m not talking about a blog you only update when you’ve got a new client, exhibition, service or product. I’m not talking about a diary-of-sorts where you post your inner thoughts about human beings and the universe. I mean the kind of blog that consistently grabs people’s attention by delivering outstandingly valuable, useful, or entertaining content.
Use ideas like these:
“Here’s something you might be interested in learning more about.”
“Here’s how I made this” – with pictures and/or video.
“Here’s what inspired what I did.”
“Here’s how you can make something like me.”
“Here’s a gadget that makes my work better (and could help you too).”
Instead of covering your opinions in layers of paragraphs, put them out there loud and clear:
• Devote an entire blog post to one idea, and one idea alone.
• Use a compelling headline.
• Ask yourself why anyone should care and start the blog post with that.
• Give concrete examples.
• Invite comments by ending with a question.
• Ask for subscriptions! Repeat visitors are the best visitors, so build an audience of loyal subscribers. Offer an email option to make it easy.
This applies largely to product-focused markets. Suppose you run a website for top-notch information on high-quality speakers. How do you generate content that’s not just unique but also interesting enough to attract visitors and solve problems, so you can build trust, authority, and a fan following?
When you go through these reviews, you can find some interesting suggestions, a few tips, and potential insights about the product. This is highly specific, real information that you can hardly get from anywhere else.
Why not sort this information and package it into a great blog post or video that helps your users make well-informed decisions? Now that’s some valuable content!
Obscurity is a greater threat than piracy. If no one’s ever heard of you, they won’t even bother to rip you off, let alone pay for your services or product.
So take advantage of the spreadability of digital content by giving away something genuinely valuable and encouraging your audience to share it with their contacts:
• The first chapter of your novel (or even an entire novella)
• A free report or e-book, chock-full of incredibly useful information
• One of the best tracks from your album
• A design template
• High-resolution images
• A series of tutorials
• Videos that anyone can embed in their site
• A free trial of your product
• Free video from your online video course
• Free consultation or coaching
Use a Creative Commons license to make it clear what people are allowed to do with the work, so you don’t end up having to sue someone for making a soundtrack out of your song or claiming your images as their own. It’s okay to feel slightly uncomfortable about giving away something so good. Why else would anyone get excited enough to tell their friends?
But don’t give away the jewels. Make sure you have plenty of products or services for the consumers who want to pay you hard-earned dollars to get more of your goodies.
Another way to know what content you should create for your audience is to look for trends your audience is interested in.
A good tool you can use for this is Google trends. It shows trends for a particular term over time based on what people are searching for. You can try a generic keyword in your niche and look up the trend, as well as see different variations of the keyword.
Taking this trend information, create content around it. This could look like writing insane blog posts, of course, but could also include creating videos, tutorials or products catering to your audience and designed directly from the trend itself.
Don’t Nobody Know Till the Stats Show
…or so my grandmother would say. Although the above tips are great ways to vet out what your target audience wants, finding the perfect format will ultimately come down to trial and error.
So experiment with different content types to gauge how your audience responds. If you can succeed at getting into the minds of your audience, your results will not only improve, but exceed your expectations.
Need help strategizing to grow in 2017? Contact us today to discuss!