Subscribe to The Marketing Scope Newsletter

How to Use Content to Establish Strong Bonds With Your Audience

By John Lemp – Founder & CEO of Revcontent.

Building a connection with readers is the single most important goal of any publisher. Without readers, you don’t exist. And with so many brands becoming publishing houses themselves, it’s not like the choices are limited of where to consume content.

your-audienceTake Red Bull, for example. It’s a massive content marketing machine, with an archive of more than 5,000 videos and 50,000 images — plus a range of high-octane sports events. In fact, the company’s media arm creates more than 600 pieces of content a year — the majority of which has nothing to do with its energy drink.

But building connections is more than getting people to read or view your content. It’s about establishing yourself as a trustworthy, authoritative voice on a subject. Unfortunately, not all brands get this. They start developing content just because the competition is already in the game. They fear that the lack of content will cost them market share and profits, so their intentions (and attention) is on the wrong thing.

When the sole focus of content is on making money, it’ll come at the direct expense of both the content and the best interest of the readers. Your content should align with the values and needs of your readers, not your own. Otherwise, you’re going to lose that audience.

So how exactly do you go about building stronger connections with readers?

1. Invest in the user experience.

User experience should always be a top concern. You want readers to enjoy interacting with your brand and content, making it easier for them to discover what’s next. Ask yourself, “How does my target audience prefer to consume articles, videos, and podcasts? On which type of device?”

Make content discovery simple. And above all, listen to your audience — in what they say and how they interact with content. If they spend more time with a particular story, comment on it, and share it with others, that topic is obviously resonating with your audience. Consider building more content around it or expanding the topic.

2. Get to know your audience.

Before you can connect with readers, you must know them on a personal level. What makes a person an ideal customer? Is that person male or female? Is he or she of a certain age or ethnicity? Is she single? Is he a family man?

Once you know what audience to target, get the lowdown on their habits, needs, and aspirations. Develop persona types, and gather feedback from people most resembling your audience. It’ll help you identify topics of interest.

Now, determine what sorts of content they currently consume. Establish which pieces of content draw them deeper into websites. With 60 percent of consumers enjoying relevant content from brands, look for opportunities where content may be lacking.

3. Develop targeted content.

Obviously, you want to create content relevant to the needs, habits, and interests of your target audience. Failure comes in handy here — make mistakes, but hone your message and your content until it’s the best it can be. Give them what they want, what they’ll talk about, and what they’ll share.

But as you develop content, never lose sight of that human element. The human element is everything. People want to hear insights and advice from real people. It can mean the difference between the success and failure of your content in the digital space.

4. Share more than your own stuff.

Just because content doesn’t come directly from you doesn’t make it any less relevant. You’re trying to establish a connection with readers, and setting yourself up as a resource for reliable information will help.

Share articles, videos, and other content from other sites. All of the content shared should align with your and your readers’ values, but start building a community around your content.

5. Carve out a social media niche.

Many publishers can be wary of social media, and that’s not surprising. Millennials are spending more time on social networks than anywhere else on the web. But it’s necessary to build out a social media following to drive those readers where you want them: your site.

Share your content on social platforms. Respond to comments and questions. Build a presence across multiple channels to develop a real personality for your brand. Interact daily with the users you worked so hard to get.

By delivering the best content for your readers with the best user experience possible, things like higher engagement, longer visits, and increased performance will be an added bonus.

How do you deliver the best content? Let us know in the comments section.

By John Lemp – Founder & CEO of Revcontent

Revcontent is the world’s fastest-growing content recommendation network, powering more than 200 billion content recommendations per month. Revcontent partners with premium branded media outlets, such as Forbes, Newsweek and Reuters. By bringing its industry-leading, performance-based technology into the content-widget market, Revcontent offers an intuitive content management system that allows sites to customize placements and maximize user engagement.