How to give your customers the content they want

Slicing through the social media lingo of likes, shares and reach to measure the effectiveness of your digital communication efforts comes down to this: Are you giving your audience the content they want?

To answer that question, you need to define your target audience — your fans, followers and friends — and then ask yourself a few more questions.

There are a series of steps to define your audience that include gathering demographic information such as age, income and gender, and psychographic refinement to include your audience’s values, interests, lifestyle and other characteristics. From there, you will need to understand where your audience goes for information, such as social media platforms or online search.

Let’s assume you’ve already done the upfront work to determine your audience and where you want to reach them. It’s time to put together the information you want them to receive. In preparing your content, be sure you can answer the following:

• What do my customers know?
• What do they need to know?
• Why should they care?

If you do not successfully address these crucial questions, your message will not resonate with your audience, no matter how clever or insightful you think your message is. If you don’t connect with your audience on an emotional level, your metrics will show it.

Here are some additional points to consider in your messaging:

• Have you established a need for your product or service?
• What solutions do your products or services offer?
• Have you included convincing or objective evidence?
• Should you acknowledge opposing points of view?

This is the substance of your messaging that will help establish credibility with your audience. Going a bit deeper, make sure the tone of your messaging is appropriate and fits your brand:

• Be respectful
• Don’t exaggerate or be overly enthusiastic
• Avoid sarcasm or negativity

Once you’ve evaluated and refined your content, it’s time to put it out there and test engagements, impressions and the like. The beauty of online content is the instant feedback of your efforts. Metrics can show you when you’ve hit the mark and if you need to adapt or improve your messaging to connect with those you care most about.