Hey, you're back...yippee! (Or if you're not back, you probably missed last week's intro to content strategy...take a look, then come back).
Today, we're going to talk about your target market.
Oh, sorry. I fell asleep for a second. No we're not. We're going to talk about one of the biggest mistakes companies make when they start blogging, newsletter-ing, video-ing, tweeting, facebooking, or engaging in any other kind of content production. They write what they know.
Take my friend Ted, for instance (and please don't say anything about his lack of ears...he's pretty sensitive about that). Ted is a stand-up guy. He runs an indie letterpress studio with his brother Gerald. Ted is a good writer and pretty personable, so he decides that he's going to be the face of the company and start getting into the whole social media scene.
Ted figures he'll start with a blog. What to write about? Oh, that's easy! He'll write about the letterpress printing process. Maybe he'll post some designs and resources that inspire him. He'll talk about design and illustration and what it's like to be in a small startup indie biz.
Ted starts to blog. He starts getting comments! People are subscribing! His work is getting featured on letterpress and illustration sites! But wait. Nobody's buying. Sales haven't increased. Ted bangs his head on his desk in agony and defeat (I will admit, Ted is a little dramatic. I've tried talking to him about it, but you know those artist-types).
So I ask you...what's wrong with Ted's blog?
It's interesting, witty, and definitely shows that Ted's studio has serious talent. It's the perfect content...to attract his colleagues and competitors. The thing is, if he were to run a letterpress printing workshop, he's got a bang-up start to his content-strategy. He's attracting letterpress aficionados, hobbyists, and wannabes right and left. But where, oh where, are the customers?
This is where Ted needs to go back to his Business 101 handbook and flip to the "target market" section. Oh yes, there it is. As Ted looks over his fill-in-the-blank "find your target market" worksheet, he finds his answer. (If you don't know what a target market is, or have no clue what yours is, skip over to Naomi Dunford's monster-in-her-pants post for a raunchy, yet helpful, visual.)
Ted's target market lives in the suburbs. They know and appreciate good design when they see it, but they are not designers themselves. They have day jobs as managers, executives, or something else equally high-paying. They buy beautiful objects for their home. They shop at West Elm and Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. They also like things that are sustainable and green and handmade. Most of them are women. They would buy Ted's work if they knew about it. But the thing is, Ted's customers don't read blogs about the letterpress process. It would simply never occur to them.
Someone, please help Ted!
He has no ear to cut off, so I'm afraid he might try a finger. Except he has no hands. This could be bad.
Ted? Listen up. You have a couple of options here.
You could...think about what you know in the context of what your customers want to read, watch, see. In other words, think about your blog as a magazine. What magazine would your customers read and subscribe to?
Or you could...decide that your customers don't read blogs (gasp!) and focus less energy and time on your blog. Instead, use it as a trust-building place that's updated less often, and focus your attention on building your mailing list and bringing people in using other marketing methods. Whatever the case, when you're selling products, the heft and quality of your mailing list is super important. We'll talk more about that later.
Or you could even...choose a different target market that's easier to reach online. You need to know where these people live. And if you can't get to their house (figuratively, you stalker, you), you've either got to find a way or find another neighborhood.
There there, Ted. I'm sure your customers read blogs. Just not your blog. Yet.
We'll be fixing that over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, let's all give Ted a big giant hug. He really will get through this, I'm sure of it.
P.S. Today's illustration brought to you by my 5 year old son, Nolan. I have no idea why we even hire David Billings.