As marketers, we really like to talk about what we do. There are so many nuances to our work that we find exciting or interesting, that sometimes we can’t help but think that other people will be equally interested, and will understand why we’re talking about it. Especially our prospective clients. So we end up creating the content on our website, our social media, and all our other touchpoints with this mentality.
In reality however, anyone outside our industry is going to struggle to understand and gain real value out of what we’re talking about. They cannot relate with content that is only relatable to people who are in the marketing world.
As Switch, we fell into this trap for quite some time. We were creating excellent content, but we weren’t gaining as many real business leads as we would have liked, considering the effort we were making. Eventually, we realised that while we were creating great content, that content made way more sense to other marketers, rather than our real target audience – business leaders that need help with their marketing.
It’s not just in the marketing industry
All of that will make sense to an IT expert – they might even be impressed! But if you’re the owner of a growing SME and you need help with your IT infrastructure, you might as well be speaking Klingon.
How do we solve the problem?
Start by placing yourself in the shoes of those who will eventually sign the check if they decide to work with you. What kind of content would they actually respond to?
Let’s take the IT example again.
It’s quite unlikely that that business owner will respond to the technical jargon we talked about earlier. They will respond however, if they come across a piece of content that relates specifically to their own situation. If they see communication from an IT company that addresses a real business concern, such as IT scalability for SMEs for example, they’re more likely to stop and take notice.
In reality, the exact technology or method the IT company uses is quite irrelevant to decision-makers in comparison to the direct business benefit they will receive as a result.
Should you always target the decision-maker?
You also should consider those within your target industry that can influence decisions internally. For example, the marketing industry is full of high-quality tools that can help with the technical side of every-day work. Tools such as the ones provided by Semrush, Hubspot, and Ahrefs can be invaluable to marketing departments.
In this case, it’s definitely worth trying to understand the daily struggles of those who are doing the everyday marketing work, and create content that appeals to them as well. Marketing tips & tricks, free tools, templates – all these can make their target users’ lives easier.
That said, the people using these tools are likely not the same individuals that will make the decision to pay for it. But one of the only ways these decision-makers will hear about it is internally. That’s why the three companies I mentioned earlier create excellent content consistently for those who actually use the tool, and not just those who will end up paying for it.
Here’s an example from the marketing world – brands such as Hubspot and Semrush do an excellent job of creating content that strategically targets individuals all across the decision-making process within potential clients.
To sum up
Always keep in mind the golden rule of content strategy – you are not your target audience. While you love what you do, and you find what you do extremely interesting, it’s likely that your real target audience is only interested in the benefit of what you do – not the nuances of how it works.
Talk about benefits to the decision makers, and provide real value to those who influence the decision makers. That way, when the time comes for a company to make a purchasing decision within your industry, all the selling has already been done.