With content marketing, success sometimes lies in how well your content can tell a story and speak your customers’ language

Creating impactful content could mean the difference between a successful marketing campaign and one that falls flat. To be effective with content, marketers must be able to not only tell a story, but to also communicate with customers in such a way that they hear the intended message.

Research shows that buyers want content and not necessarily the same types of content with which they’ve historically been blasted. Recently, the Economist found 71% of buyers/readers say they were turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch, which means marketers need to approach the content from the customer point of view. And the Content Marketing Institute found in its B2B Content Marketing 2019 report that well-researched personas can help teams create successful content; however, too few content marketers are actually talking with customers to understand their needs (42%).

There are various ways to understand the customer mindset, and marketers can pick and choose their approach to best identify their target customers and desired audience.

Put on the Press Hat

One of the biggest challenges with content is creating the pieces that will most resonate with the targeted audience—which requires companies to get to know the desired audience for the content. And that means doing some homework. Companies wanting to get inside the heads of their potential customers can approach the task in a few ways.

In many cases, adopting a journalistic approach to researching the customer could pay off well for marketers. Like reporters, marketers should call, meet, and speak to their targeted customers; discuss with them what they care about most in their jobs and how they attempt to solve problems with products and services. Do they prefer a SaaS model for software? Are they considering switching vendors? Who makes the buying decisions in their organization? And probably most important: what issue are they trying to solve with a new purchase?

Discussing their issues without mentioning your marketing goals will establish a bit of trust with potential customers. Also understanding the people behind the problems the products can solve will also give marketers more insight into how to help customers with content. Do they need more product information or would best practice guidance better benefit them? Knowing how the customers approach problems internally and seek guidance externally can ultimately help craft the content strategy, type, and tone from marketers.

Dig Deeper into Customer Data

Conducting in-house studies or even commissioning research would provide valuable insights into the sought-after demographics for the market. Looking at competitors’ customer pages could also provide a snapshot of who to target with content. For instance, case studies could reveal critical information about their customers’ challenges and uncover opportunities for selling into that same audience.

Social networks can also provide interesting observations about the state of affairs for customer accounts. While posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter about their daily lives, social networks could also be allowing marketers to peek into what types of content appeal most to potential customers. Social networks also offer a view of what’s trending among like-minded individuals whether it be related to work or pop culture.

Collecting perceptions and facts from various sources helps marketers create a persona of who they are targeting—and all these facets contribute to a bigger picture of who the company, product, or service is trying to serve.

Whether the content should appeal to C-level executives or hands-on practitioners, it should be designed with the likes, dislikes, concerns, challenges, and successes of the targeted persona in mind. That means understanding the issues diverse groups of professionals worry about most in their day-to-day jobs and providing them with insights that will lead them to invest in your company, product, or service.