Creating targeted content is what helps your small service business attract new prospects. So it makes sense that taking the time to create content just for your ideal audience would result in more content with the people you want to do business with. Almost like your own little web that catches prospects and customers. In fact, creating targeted content has a few distinct benefits:
- Increases your discoverability of your services by prospects
- Raises awareness of your services and brand
- Promotes trust in your knowledge and understanding of their needs
- Encourages continued contact (opt-in, email list social follower)
There are three distinct parts to creating targeted content: your content purpose or use, your content type and your content topic. And while type is probably the easier of the two, it has long fingers in design and creativity, which adds a level of complexity (and fun).
Targeted Content Use
This is where you look at how this piece of content is being consumed. Your ideal customer will consume different types of content in different ways. Blog posts are usually scanned or read quickly, podcasts are listened to while multi-tasking (not usually at full attention), reports are read when they’re seeking answers so they pay more attention but also are looking for specific things so this may garner less attention but more serious consideration, and so on.
Are they collecting information as research? Are they looking at potential solutions to a problem? Are they generally educating themselves? You must have a clear understanding of how your content is being used and at what stage of the buying process are they with each piece of content?
Also, different organizational roles and even age (generations) may have preferences based on how they consume content. Many marketers were saying that newsletters were dead, but I did client research where they clearly voiced a preference for email newsletters. So don’t just go by popular opinion. You need to listen to the audience that you want to attract and cater to them specifically.
Targeted Content Type
The type that you create is as much based on your preference as it is your audience’s preference. If you try to create content that just isn’t “you” you’ll find a serious lack of motivation and will likely give up. So, start by choosing a content type that doesn’t require your teeth being pulled to complete it.
- Written post
- (many others)
The above are a few of the more popular types of content. Some can be done more regularly and others may be used as a lead magnet (opt-in content). So, you may be looking at a few different types depending upon the use.
Either way, you should look at how often you’re going to be creating this, if you have a team that can help e.g. edit, post, design, etc. or if you’re doing this all yourself. You should also think about where this piece of content will be living. A regular blog post will show up as a post on your website but a whitepaper may need a landing page and opt-in form with social media posts, etc.
You can also repurpose popular content pieces into different content types to get more leverage on different platforms (and reach those audiences). We don’t all spend our time on the same platforms. And it’s getting more and more inaccurate to label a platform with a generational audience description. What was once used strictly for personal socializing is now seen as ripe for business. Even channels like Tik Tok are good channels for business promotion now. You never know.
For example, a report may have some of its data turned into an infographic and used on Pinterest so it can be more readily shared with a link to download the source report. A podcast may be transcribed and turned into a slide deck and shared on Slideshare (with a link to the full podcast).
Repurposing existing content is an excellent way to extend the life of any timely content. It’s also a great way to reach prospects in specific niches or those that have channel preferences outside of your usual posting habits. So, if you regularly post on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn you could do the occasional post on Pinterest or another channel to expand your reach and target those that may not catch your content elsewhere.
Targeted Content Topics
Discovering your content topic is where this gets interesting (yes, I find this interesting). You can create content to do different things depending where you are in your small business. All of the below content is needed at some point.
- Support different stages of your ideal customer’s buying process (education, proof, etc.)
- Attract different personas to your brand (awareness)
- Dive into your solution to their problem (sell, build trust)
- Offer things to help (build email list)
- Provide specific advice to specific problems (SEO, email links)
And each type of content would be created using specific keywords and phrasing that matches your ideal customer’s thoughts and voice. Not only will this help you rank higher in online search, but you’ll also build prospect and client lists faster than ever.
Also, keep in mind that these content topics or purpose may be done in different ways. For example, some brands use their social media platforms as one or two of these, the website for others. Building an effective content strategy can help define this for you so it’s easier to follow (or have your team follow).
In case you didn’t catch what the underlying piece is – it’s customer research. Once that’s done you can start crafting content that targets (and engages) your ideal customer.