(To see Part 1, click here.)
You’ve finally taken some time to understand what you want from yourself and what you want others to get from your brand. But now, it’s time to take your idea a step further. So let’s make a plan. In this post, we’re going to discuss things like finding your target audience, planning your content and networking with others to build relationships. Welcome to Part 2: Who cares about your brand?
And when I say, “Who cares about your brand?”, I mean literally…WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR BRAND? Who exactly are the people you are trying to reach? And how will you find them? Let’s begin.
Your target audience
According to Dictionary.com, a target audience is a group of people for which something is marketed or advertised. So let’s first think about who you are trying to reach and why.
Why your audience matters
Imagine yourself getting in your car. You head to the gas station and fill your gas tank all the way to the “Full” line. Then, you spend the entire day driving without a destination. It may seem harmless and fun at first, but after a while, your gas starts to get low. Even though you drove around the city, you didn’t get anything done. You’ve wasted all this time, and you have nothing to show for it.
Well that is exactly what having a brand without an audience is like — your brand is the car and you are lacking a purpose. You’re just throwing your brand out there without an idea of where you want to go. But having an audience steers you in the right direction. Knowing your audience doesn’t just help you know who you’re talking to, but it helps you understand how to talk to them, when to talk to them and where to talk to them. Not to mention, you have a fail-safe way of measuring how well your content is doing. NOW you have something to show.
Finding your audience
Market research is critical to your content strategy. In this case, it’s a way for you to find extensive information on your consumers, their needs and their preferences. You can start by going to Google, which is a good way to do preliminary research. Begin by looking at which websites are talking about your industry. Pay close attention to how they talk about it and when they talk about it. Does your industry have more positive or negative feedback? Do people only talk about your industry at the beginning of each month? If so, then why is that?
Once you’ve figured out the “where” and the “why”, now you can pay attention to the “who”. Who are these people talking about your industry? (And even better, who are they talking to?) What are their interests, their hobbies? Are they young or old? College-educated? Do they live in suburban or rural areas? What does their tone sound like? Are these consumers employed? And if so, what career field do they work in? All of these questions are important to ask yourself when determining who will be your key audience.
Establishing a profile
A lot of PR/marketing professionals will tell you that it’s a good idea to create demographic profiles for your target audience. Demographic profiles help you visually see what your target audience is all about. Their way of life, income, careers and more. See below for my example of a profile.
Persona #1: Working Professional
• 37 years old
• Born in Vancouver, Canada
• Lives in Austin, Texas
• Technical specialist
• 1 child
Ted was an only child. He comes from a wealthy background and was raised by both of his parents. His dad is a management consultant, so he has lived in Vancouver, Ontario, and Montreal. His biggest relocation was when he moved to the United States at age 14.
The only schools his parents allowed him to go to were academically-competitive private schools. Most of the schools he went to were language-based, due to his parents’ belief that languages would help him in the corporate world. Ted’s grades were never less than perfect, and he is now fluent in four languages: English, French, Spanish, and Chinese.
His parents sent him to Columbia University in hopes of his becoming the next New York senator. However, Ted embraced a friend in the engineering department and found a new love: computer coding.
After switching his major in college, Ted decided that he wanted a new change in scenery. After he received his Bachelor of Science, he picked up and moved to Austin, Texas, where he met his soon-to-be wife. He has 1 child and currently works as a technical specialist for the National Instruments Corporation. On the weekends, one could find him golfing, walking his dog, or spending time with his family at the park.
Your profile doesn’t have to be as extensive as this one above, but anything you can write will be good enough to get you started. According to Jayson DeMers, contributing writer at Forbes, demographic profiles may not give you much insight into their motivations and buying patterns, but it’s a great starting point. Click here to see DeMers’ full article about the 6 steps to decoding your target audience.
Did you know that 69% of U.S. entrepreneurs start their businesses at home? In that case, you’re going to have to be your own boss. Keep yourself in line. If necessary, get a calendar. Maintaining consistency is part of what’s going to keep people coming back for more. So what can you do to get organized?
More research. Sorry, not sorry.
Remember earlier in this post when we talked about where your audience was online? Well let’s talk about that a little more. You may have to do more research to determine which platforms would be the most efficient for your audience. For example, if your audience is 30 and up, you have a better chance of getting their attention through a blog site or a Facebook page. If your audience is between the ages of 18 and 34, and they live in urban neighborhoods, Twitter and YouTube might be the most effective way to catch them. Dig a little deeper to understand where your audience spends its free time online. For more information regarding social media demographics and statistics, read Smart Insights’ Global Social Media Research Summary 2016.
Building a repertoire
Whatever ideas you already have, write them down and start expanding on them. You can use mind mapping to enhance those ideas and build even stronger content. That way, you can improve your thinking, plan productively and solve problems effectively. See below for an example.
Another way I get more ideas is by following and engaging with thought leaders in my industry. Reading their opinions and ideas everyday helps me spark my own opinions and ideas…eventually, I not only have a wealth of knowledge, but I have more options for content. For example, I follow lots of bloggers, YouTubers and new sites that all produce content related to my industry. They post, I listen. Then, I brainstorm. It’s a cycle that I think everyone could benefit from.
I decided to spend most of Part 2 discussing your target audience because without them, your brand will not progress. We live in a supply-demand type of world, so it’s important that you always focus on what the people want.
Back to the subject of consistency, I want to sincerely apologize for getting this post up a day late. While I do love blogging and giving my readers what they want, I also have a full-time job that takes priority. Things got a little hectic the past few days, but I’m back on track! And I can’t wait to share Part 3 with you all next week!
Let me know if you have any thoughts regarding target audiences and brand marketing in the comment section below. Thanks for reading! 🙂
(To see Part 3, click here.)