In the world of digital marketing, it seems that everyone is talking about the concept of “relevant” content. “You have to post relevant content!” you hear the experts say. “If it’s not relevant, it’s just noise!”
The problem is, with all of their calls for relevancy, there isn’t a whole lot of explanation about what “relevant content” actually means. Add to it that different people will have different answers.
Ask the marketing department, and relevant content is anything that gets people talking about — and buying — your product. An SEO expert might say that relevant content matches the tone and audience of the site and also contains all the right keywords to get you to the top of the search results. To the reader, relevant content might simply mean something that is relevant to them or that they are specifically looking for.
With so many perspectives, how do you determine what is actually relevant? The answer is simple: Take yourself out of the equation, and go to the source.
Relevant Content Is About the User
One of the primary reasons that many marketing efforts don’t achieve the desired result is that the marketers focus too much on their own goals and not enough on what their audience actually needs or wants. Instead of creating content that fulfills a customer need, the content focuses on what the business is trying to accomplish, and wants from the customer. Sometimes, the two goals coincide and everything works out fine. More often than not, the content falls flat, and customers do not respond or engage with it. The content becomes irrelevant noise that the audience ignores.
Therefore, the key to successful content marketing is to figure out not only who your target audience really is, but also what they need and want from you — and that requires listening. Listen to what your audience is saying, about you, your products, and your industry, and respond accordingly.
This requires looking at more than your demographic data and your website analytics. Do some qualitative analysis in addition to looking at the numbers.
- Review your existing content to see what’s getting a response. What types of posts, on your blog or social media, are getting the most comments, likes, and shares? Do more of that type of thing.
- Read the comments, on your posts and others related to your business. Yes, comment sections can be rife with trolls and troublemakers. But by looking at the conversations happening around you, you can gain insight into what’s important to your audience and what they want to see more (or less) of.
- Read forums. Same deal. Look at the questions being asked — can you answer them with your content?
- Pay attention to trending topics. Google Trends, Alexa “What’s Hot,” and social media trends can spark ideas — and consistently offering thoughtful opinion and analysis on trending topics can establish you and/or your company as a thought leader, increasing your audience and authority.
- Follow social mentions. Not only do you want to see what people are saying about your company, but follow particularly related keywords to see what people are talking about.
- Ask for ideas. Use your social media feeds to ask your audience what they want to see, and crowdsource some topic ideas.
The bottom line is that it’s almost impossible to be relevant when you rely on assumptions. You have to do the work to see what your audience really wants, and take the focus off what you want to share. When you do, your audience will be eager to see what you have to say.