Why audience context matters

Knowing what challenges your audiences face and utilizing effective emotional writing to strike a chord is key to developing campaigns that connect.

We all know how valuable audience personas can be for marketers. They outline demographic information and pain points for different types of customers, and can help us picture our customer. However, there is no way for a persona to account for context – what is a real person actually experiencing at the moment they encounter our content? If we’re to produce campaigns that truly connect to our audiences, we must go beyond personas and get specific. 

In an ideal world, we’d write 100% personalized content for every potential customer, but in the real world, we have to settle for using tools to better get into their headspace. Here are tools to help:

  • Keyword Planners: It’s a crutch to assume you can fire up an SEO keyword planner, pick a few phrases, and stuff your content in order to earn organic traffic. In my experience, it’s far better to think of keyword planners as tools to help us understand the specific language our readers are using. Focus on phrases that read as questions, and answer those questions to give immediate value.
  • Google Trends: Once you have keywords researched, enter them into Google Trends to see what else you can learn about people using those search terms. Look into what geographic locations the searches are coming from, what time of day, or week, or year that searches increase. Can you glean any insight from patterns?
  • Popular Content: Perform Google searches with terms you’ve identified to see how others answer pressing questions. Can you do a better job? Or maybe fill in gaps in the market?

Knowing what challenges your audiences face is only step one to developing campaigns that connect. Step two is understanding how your customers feel about their challenges and utilizing effective emotional writing to strike a chord.

  • Show, Don’t Tell. The easiest mistake to make when writing emotionally is to come out and broadcast that you’re doing it. Don’t tell the reader how they feel. Instead, imagine how they would prefer to feel and give them a taste of that. 
  • Resonate, Don’t Exploit. To prove a need for your product or service, you should evoke, not exploit, emotion in people. It’s easy to exploit intense emotions of fear, anger, agitation in our audiences in order to sell. But it feels fake. Instead, show the reader you understand their emotions and maybe even share them.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Ryan Brock is the founder and CEO of Metonymy Media, an agency of creative writers dedicated to helping businesses and organizations communicate effectively for growth and success. A full-time writer, editor, and entrepreneur for nine years, Brock’s professional focus is on creating fulfilling career opportunities for creative writers while empowering genuine brands to tell powerful stories that connect with audiences on every level to create powerful customer experiences. Brock has edited a number of books and publications, and is also the co-author of Nothing New: An Irreverent History of Storytelling and Social Media.

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