How to pick the right content type to reach your target audience?

Let me highlight the car salesman analogy to drive home the point of why creating and marketing the right content type is crucial. If you were a carsales man would you recommend a soccer mom to test drive a 2 door, fast and flashy convertible? How about showing a 7 seater mini van to a cool and hip bachelor? You wouldn’t, right? You would first take notice of the person(aka target market segment) walking into the car dealership show room and then know what car(aka right content) to show them. Why not apply the same rule when choosing content type to reach your target audience?

There are too many content types in this digital era.
Just look at this list of different content types which are used today.

Data Sheets
Product Sheets
white papers
Case Studies
Design Guides
Solution Overviews
ROI Calculators
Web content
Landing pages
Direct mail

Doesn’t looking at this list alone make your head spin?

Given the information overloaded world we live in, the key is to choose the right content type and the appropriate marketing vehicle to get your message across to your target audience. If you take effort to offer your prospects and customers appropriate, compelling content you can not only demonstrate expertise but also can build trust and grow your business. How do you get started?

Use the traditional marketing strategy STP to pick the right content type. STP stands for Segmenting – Targeting – Positioning

Segmenting: Identify market segments. Be aggressive about defining your target segment.
Targeting: Target your content/product/service for that target segment. Have laser focus when targeting a particular segment. Don’t think big & broad. Think niche.
Positioning: Position your content/product/service specifically to the target segment.

Questions to ask before choosing the right content type

What is your objective in creating and marketing content? [Think SMART goal. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.] What is your target market segment?
What are the characteristics of your target market segment?
What message do you want to convey to your customers and prospects?
What informational needs do your customers and prospects have?
How do you want to position your product or service?

After you answer these questions, choose a content type and the appropriate marketing vehicle to carry your message across to your target audience.

For example, if your goal is to educate and inform your target segment about your new product and your target segment prefers written material that is a “soft-sell” (as compared to a “hard-sell” product brochure), one type of content to pick would be a solution white paper.

Once you have decided that a white paper is the right content type to reach your target segment, ask yourself the following questions:

Is your whitepaper intended towards an audience outside the company or inside?
Are they technical decision markers or business decision makers?
How do you influence your target segment?
What information are they looking for?
What is the call-for-action at the end of your whitepaper?

If the white paper is intended to appeal to a business decision maker, are you presenting information at a high level? You need to give the business benefits in 3-5 bullet points.

On the other hand, if the white paper is for a technical decision maker, you need to share a whole lot of technical deep-dive information and proof points to influence them.

If you are creating an internal whitepaper intended to educate and train your sales force, be sure to include the following – detailed competitive updates, trigger questions to ask prospects, possible objections that prospects might raise and how to counter them.

In today’s environment, as customers are bombarded with constant ads and messages, it is very critical for you to share messages as stories that engage and inspire action. Step away from your traditional content development and content marketing process. Help your customer process information easily. Capture your customer’s imaginations.

Don’t just throw content out and hope it will stick and produce the results you want.
Pick the right content type to reach your target audience.

Over to you…

What are the different types of target audience you deal with?
Does your target audience prefer one type of content over another?
Which marketing vehicles do you use to reach your target audience?

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