Your content fails because you jumped in without fully planning your content first
From the work you’ve done as part of your marketing strategy, you know your target audience at a basic level – for example, mid-market organisations across all sectors with UK-based headquarters, talking to c-suite level decision makers.
While segmentation on attributes like demographics/geographics is useful for high-level planning, at a content level it can leave your copy feeling flat, because it fails to connect with the audience on an emotional level.
At a content level, you need to know your target audience a little more intimately, so you can articulate the audience’s problem/opportunity in terms of business impact/value.
For example, within the realm of digital transformation I’ve read many articles about failed change projects. Some go further to express what that failed change may look like – for example, projects not meeting their intended objectives, not delivering value, or massively over-running. But very few comment on the reality of what that failed change means day-to-day. For example:
🧁Imagine what life would be like for a remote worker who cannot access the systems they need to do their job – the frustration they would feel or the frustration their boss may feel.
🧁Imagine the waste that results from systems that don’t integrate – the duplication of effort, the margin for error, the missed opportunities.
🧁Imagine having to report a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office, seeing your company in the headlines, or having to inform a customer that you’d lost their personal information.
So what can you do to improve your messaging to ensure it resonates with your audience?
Idea 1: plan your messaging
Marketers who get segmentation right have been known to increase their company’s revenue by 760%.
Therefore, within your content strategy, take the time to plan your messaging on a content level to identify the themes that will hook into your audience’s mindset. Think beyond demographics and geographics to consider:
🧁Psychographics: their personality or interests.
🧁Technographics: the apps, software, and device(s) they use.
🧁Behavioural: their habits, and how they use/buy.
🧁Needs-based: the ‘must haves’ vs. the ‘nice to haves’.
🧁Values-based: what they care about and why they buy.
The more you understand your audience, the way they think, and how they perceive the world, the easier it is to craft messaging that resonates with the audience by hitting on the value your product/service delivers.
Structure your messaging like this:
It has [FEATURE], which means [BENEFIT], so that [VALUE].
A lot of content stops at the benefits, but you want to go further – keep adding ‘so that…’ and you get deeper and deeper into the things that really matter to your audience, which is the reason your audience converts.
|Template: messaging framework
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Idea 2: tweak your presentation
A writer talking about design?! Surely not!!
Any professional copywriter knows that the way you present your words is just as important as what they say. Take the above section as an example – would you have read it if it looked like this:
Marketers who get segmentation right have been known to increase their company’s revenue by 760%. Therefore, within your content strategy, take the time to plan your messaging on a content level to identify the themes that will hook into your audience’s mindset. Think beyond demographics and geographics to consider: psychographics, technographics, behavioural, needs-based, values-based. The more you understand your audience, the way they think, and how they perceive the world, the easier it is to craft your messaging to ensure it resonates by hitting on the value your audience will gain from using your product/service. Structure your messaging like this: it has [FEATURE], which means [BENEFIT], so that [VALUE]. A lot of content stops at the benefits, but you want to go further – keep adding ‘so that…’ and you get deeper and deeper into the things that really matter to your audience, which is the reason your audience converts.
When your audience sees your copy for the first time, you want it to look enticing and easy to read. Therefore, besides writing words, a professional copywriter understands how to:
🧁Use structure to facilitate skim reading.
🧁Format and guide the reader through from start to finish.
🧁Play with sentence structure to retain engagement.
🧁Use white space to draw the eye to important information, like a call-to-action (CTA).
🧁Incorporate graphics to convey large quantities of information quickly.
Furthermore, it’s important to consider the visual elements that accompany your words. According to Hubspot, the visual elements consumers value most are images, colour, and video, as well as typography, infographics, and animation.
Imagine your content as a gift – if the words are the present, the design is how you wrap it and build the anticipation and excitement for reading it.
Idea 3: adapt your CTA
Look at your thought leadership content – specifically the very last section containing your CTA.
What did you ask the audience to do?
A common mistake I see with content is always using the same CTA – usually something like ‘contact us’, ‘book a demo’, ‘sign up for an assessment’. The problem is that your copy could be beautifully engaging, but you hit them with a cold generic CTA.
Even if the foundation of your CTA remains the same, like ‘contact us’, think about how you can adapt it to the piece of content you are writing. For example:
🧁A blog could ask the reader to get in touch with any questions they have about the topic.
🧁A white paper could invite the reader to book a consultation.
🧁An email may ask for feedback.
🧁A social update might invite DMs.
It’s a subtle but important change that encourages the click to convert your audience.
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