If you spend a lot of time posting content that isn’t landing with your audience, you may need to take a step back and think about your ideal reader’s awareness level.
Let’s say you are a renewable energy consulting firm, helping large commercial buildings become more sustainable. Your clients are business managers of private schools, hospitals, warehouses and other large commercial buildings.
Most of these people probably know they have an energy wastage problem, but don’t have any idea what the best way to start fixing it might be.
If you want to create content that lands with this audience, it’s not going to do you any favours talking about how to wire up solar panels to a roof or install underfloor heating. That is just far too much technical information…
As an engineering firm, you may LOVE the technical stuff, but unfortunately, your clients don’t (that’s what they pay you for!).
You are going to be much better off creating content that is more on their level. Talk about how to secure funding for installations, the yearly savings from LED lighting, the limits of sustainable equipment, etc.
If you want to keep an audience engaged you need to meet them with your expertise at their appropriate level and not get carried away just because it’s something you geek out on.
If you are writing a book about some new programming language, your audience is going to be programmers and IT professionals so don’t bog them down with the basics, get straight to the good stuff!
Finding the balance
If you are pitching your content at a level that’s too basic or too advanced, your readers (or listeners) will most likely disengage. You need to curate and deliver content they will resonate with and want to engage with, and that brings them at least one step closer to working with you.
You need to get inside the mind of your client and establish two things:
- What they already know
- What they don’t know but NEED to know
Find a new perspective
Dig deep into your client avatar and consider; where is your client is on their journey? For example, the entrepreneurial community recognises the importance of a growth mindset, so if you publish a book where the first two chapters labour the point “why a growth mindset matters”, it would probably be too basic and generate a lot of eye-rolling.
On the opposite side of that, if your content is there to support rookie business owners who are taking their first baby steps into this world, those two chapters on growth mindset may be very important to them.
Think more deeply about your ideal client and identify the knowledge gaps that you can fill.
I am quite fond of bringing in marketing concepts to help with content creation, so here is another one you may find useful.
Reader awareness level
This is a classic marketing tool that has been used for years to position your brand/product in the marketplace. Many of you may already know what I’m talking about here, so I won’t go into too much detail.
However, it’s useful to recap the different awareness levels (or learn about them just in case this is new to you!):
Unaware: Your audience aren’t aware they have a problem, nor do they have a desire to fix it.
Problem aware: They know they have a problem but aren’t aware of any solutions out there, even if they want to fix it.
Solution aware: They know there is a solution, but aren’t aware of any specific product/system that can help them.
Product aware: They know who you are and what you offer, but perhaps don’t have the full picture and aren’t convinced you are the right person (yet!).
Fully aware: They know who you are and fully understand what you do, they just haven’t taken action yet.
Have a think about where your audience sits on these levels. A problem-aware audience may need a lot of hand-holding and walking through each step of the solution. You may want to create instructional blogs, and manuals or compare different solution providers to empower them to make more informed decisions. A how-to book outlining your special process of solving this problem may be a good place to start with this audience.
This is a very different style to creating content for an audience that is product aware or fully aware. These people are clued up. They already know what’s out there, they just want to be convinced that you are the best person to give them what they want and/or need.
Many business/leadership books are in this field and authors are always trying to come up with their own new, unique way of providing solutions to common issues like increasing productivity, work-life balance, leading teams, growing a business, mindset etc.
For an audience like this you may want to spend some time creating content around what makes your brand special. What unique features or benefits does your solution provide that others don’t? What hook, or thread do you want to weave through the book that makes you stand out from everyone else? What is the product/service you use to provide the solution? Maybe you want to challenge the status quo and go in a totally different direction to everyone else?
Your book may be less about helping your audience find a solution and more about WHY your solution is their best option.
Once again, marketing concepts like this can be our best friend when it comes to writing books, blogs or recording podcasts that resonate with our ideal audience.
If you want a few pointers on how to get a better understanding of your audience’s awareness levels, here is a good place to start…
Be the detective
You need to hunt around for the kind of information already available to these people, and what they are currently learning about it. Here are some questions that can help you:
Where do your clients (and potential clients) go to source information?
What are their go-to business books or magazines? What specifically are they learning?
Who do they follow online?
Are they part of a mastermind, if so, at what level and what is their focus?
Which social circles do your clients and ideal clients move in?
Pay attention to the vocabulary
Once you have answered these questions, start to think about the vocabulary and phrases that are being used in the content they already consume. How technical is it? How detailed is it? Think about how this compares to the content that you’ve been creating. If you use lots of industry-specific references or jokes you need to know that your reader (or listener) will be on the same page as you and not feel excluded.
When you build a detailed awareness profile of your audience and deepen your understanding of their level of awareness you will be able to create compelling content that they need, and that helps them engage (and hopefully want to invest in more of what you offer).
Until next time!
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