How To Segment Your Content Marketing Strategy: 4 Types of Content for 4 Types of Audience
Your content is a strategic marketing tool. In order to maximize its potential, and reach the widest audience possible, you need to understand how to segment your audience and craft your content accordingly.
This article will detail the 4 types of content tailored for the 4 types of audience:
Conversion focused content for experts
Self-promoting content for insiders
Introductory content for new comers
General interest, fun content for outsiders
When approaching content creation for Content Marketing purposes, a careful dissection of the target audience and its needs is called for. It’s not just about keywords and terms, it’s much more about understanding your audience’s search behavior and concluding from your analysis the right content for them.
Obviously, different segments of audience are in play for every product or service you provide, so who do you target with your content? All of them.
A single piece of content to target all the different audience segments? Absolutely not. A well-crafted content strategy should encompass all segments by including several pieces of content; each piece to its own segmented target audience.
Below is a Content Marketing Segmentation Strategy outlining the four types of content tailored for four segments of audience.
Conversion Focused Content for Experts
Audience: like fish in water. These are the users that know the industry inside-out, that are able to explain to you about your own product / service. They don’t require background-ing, they want to get the relevant information and make their decision. Don’t try to romance their stone, they’re not going to like it – they are ripe for conversion so go for the kill.
Content: informative in form, newsworthy in essence. You are introducing a new feature, you are releasing a new version, you are announcing a new series, you are explaining a complex feature or functionality of your product. No room for too much self-congratulatory superlatives here.
Remember, these are seasoned users, well-familiar with your brand and already have a high appreciation for it. Demonstrate respect for their time, present the relevant for ‘news’ in a concise manner and conclude with a call to action.
Example: Upstream Commerce blog post titled “10 Important Reasons Retailers Should Monitor MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) Violations”. Right from the title (and the first paragraph) it is clear that they are ‘talking shop’. They don’t bother to do backgrounding’ – no reason here; if you aren’t familiar with the need that they mention in the title, this isn’t for you.
The reason behind this post was to introduce the company’s own new service MAP Monitor. They took the time to explain thoroughly why would you need such a service in general, but it’s clear that they are pushing their own solution. And there’s nothing wrong about that.
Self-Promoting Content for Insiders
Audience: at the helm of the herd. Industry insiders if you will, and the word “industry” is loosely used here. These are the users who are knowledgeable about the playfield but not yet rooting for your team. Their awareness of your brand exists, though on the lower end of the scale. But they are here, you got them, and you want your content to make them remember your brand from now on.
Content: informative in form, promotional in essence. You are introducing, or reintroducing, your brand. Not literally though – it’s not about copying & pasting your About page or telling the story from the beginning. You are distinguishing your brand from the rest of the industry, shining a light on what makes your product / service superior to others; this could be a newly devised strategy that you just cracked.
This type of content usually coincide with an event, a new cycle, even the “newsworthy”, but is handled differently. The focus here should be the brand as whole rather than a specific feature, though you do need the specificity to justify the generality of the content. Think of it as a watered-down White Paper; the appearance of objectivity is welcomed here.
Example: The InstallCore Academy chapter 1: “What is an Installation Platform?” It appears, of course, in the main site of iCore, a producer of an application distribution platform. Informative and objective, helpful even, but those conversion buttons keep their gaze fixed on you.
Doesn’t matter though. You are left alone (no popup, thanks iCore!), immersed in the content with the choice to click when you’re done, or look somewhere else.
Another Example: This very piece of content you are reading right now; for all the Meta Fans out there. I am outlining a content marketing strategy, for industry insiders, people who do content creation for marketing purposes. I am informing you about something of value to you, and I’m keeping my objectivity intact; I haven’t mentioned my brand not even once. I will though, and if I did a proper job, you will click it.
Introductory Content for Newcomers
Audience: the peripherals. These are users who are mere ‘visitors’, definitely not part of your sphere of conduct. They might have a specific need and they are scouting for a solution, or they are demonstrating newfound interest in an industry they are not that familiar with. The knowledge and awareness of your brand (and they industry as a whole) is toward the lower end of the scale; they are entering uncharted territory, from their point of view.
Content: informative in form, introductory in essence. The focus here should not be your own brand but rather a more general take on the sphere you are operating in. Think of this piece of content as a 101 course. You are skimming the surface, covering wide grounds with occasional dips to explore crucial points.
Avoid generalities and overuse of superlatives, you are not here to impress but rather to inform. A deeper understanding of a topic or a general idea can and will lead the user to realize a need, that you will be able to take care of. Inform of the problem and explain the solution.
What about straying away from informative to the opinionated? That’s a tricky one. The thing with opinion pieces is, if you don’t know the writer, you’re probably not going to read it. It is really hard to get invested in the thoughts and murmurs of a stranger.
Building an audience for opinionated content is an uphill struggle, but a possible one. If you are able to keep it for long enough and accumulate a readership, this is without a doubt the most valuable content. A strategy is barely needed; if users pay attention to your opinions, your work is done.
Example: eTraffic article on its site “The Evolution of the Google SEO Algorithm”. It explains, in somewhat layman terms, how Google keeps updating it search algorithm and the market reacts. It is not DIY content; readers won’t be able to update their site ‘accordingly’ upon completing to read. What it does is presenting eTraffic as an expert in its field. The logical conclusion to be made here: if this company is so knowledgable about its sphere of conduct, it definitely excel in the services it provides. Simple as that.
General Interest, Fun Content for Outsiders
Audience: Second and third degree cousins, friends of friends. Users with low-to-none knowledge and awareness of industry, who never heard of your brand. They should be potential future customers, though at the moment they aren’t such. You need to have a target audience in mind when sitting down to write, segmented to areas of interest, needs and even aspirations; choose your audience and entertain it.
Content: fun in form, promotional in essence. The word “entertain” was not put there without careful consideration. This piece of content is intended to explore a topic that can be very loosely related to your world, but one that you are knowledgeable about through other channels, or through research.
You can turn up the Fun Dial here and aim for sharable content with the hopes of it turning viral. The idea here is to write for the widest audience possible (within your targeted segment) on a fun or interesting topic that will lure in readers. Once you get the readers hooked on your content, they are more likely to sniff around, stumbleupon your brand. You can help them as well by including in the content a reference / link to your brand.
Example: Prime Slots blog post titled “The House Doesn’t Always Win: 4 Amazing Winning Stories”. The post, as said in the title, tells four incredible stories of people who won big. The words “slot machines” aren’t even mentioned in the post, nor any ‘promotional’ lingo about Prime Slots.
It is a pure fun post. But. The thinking behind this post specifically targeted the idea of Winning Big, an idea that is very appealing to the target audience of Prime Slots. The post act as an ‘awakening agent’ of the audience desire to win. Only the very last sentence includes a link to one of the landing pages of the site; it is a gentle way of saying: you enjoyed this reading, your fingers now tingle with excitement? Click here and see what we are all about (and might win big.)
Content Marketing: it is a Strategy & an Art
By creating various types of content targeting various groups of audience with various interests and needs you are casting the widest net. You are spreading your brand’s knowledge and expertise in a measured, non-intrusive manner. The days of barging into closed doors online in the form of sponsored content and flashing banners are over. Audience no longer wants ads, in any form, they are after information and entertainment and if you are capable of providing them just that, you, and your brand, will get their attention.
The question remains though: how do you gain the knowledge of your various audience segments and their interests and needs, and how you create said content? In a perfect world you would have called the Ghostbusters. In our less-than-perfect world, eTraffic can and will accomplish the above mentioned, which can be broken down to the following services:
- Market & audience research and segmentation based on keywords & terms search analysis
- Focused & reseasoned content creation tailored for the needs and wants of the targeted audience based on the research and analysis
So wrapping up, this is how you do it. Objectivity still intact through the publication of a white paper. A content marketing strategy based on segmentation of audience, and a range of examples. As mentioned earlier, this actual type of content – Self-Promoting for Insiders – should end with a call to action. So here it is, plain & simple:
by Guy Regev, CEO of eTraffic Web Marketing