Begin by taking stock of your current readers or customers.
Look for patterns in the way they use your website, what content they consume and share, which products or services they purchase and any other feedback you can gather from them directly. Utilise the analytics running behind the scenes of your website and social media channels, there’s tonnes of untapped insight there that will tell you what is currently working as well as what’s an epic fail.
Make a list of your products and services as well as a brief description of each one’s benefits. By understanding your benefits, from a totally factual unbiased viewpoint, you can start to shape a strategy that will position your business as something those people ‘need’.
Next up, look at your competitors.
Who are their main audiences? Are you planning on going after a similar group or targeting a niche instead? Having these people very clearly in your mind is going to make writing for them SO much easier, so it really does pay to think through the process before you start scribbling.
Finally, persona building. All of the previous steps should have left you in a pretty strong position to build a few select members of your audience. This is invaluable when it comes to content strategy, a more detailed post on that coming in a few weeks. If you know you’re writing a blog post specifically for Mark, Tom or Travis (big Blink182 fans here #sorrynotsorry) you are much more direct and concise with your messaging as you feel you know that person inside out.
Build profiles for between 3-5 fictional audience members. Consider their age, location, gender, income, family status and occupation; these are the demographics. Then add onto the profiles that persons personality, attitudes, values, hobbies or interests and lifestyle; these are known as the psychographics.
Once these are complete, you’re ready to start writing content as you will know why your audience are interested in you, how your messaging needs to vary for each persona, when they might purchase with you and why, as well as what they watch, read and value in life. All of these considerations are what separates an average brand from an amazing one.
At this point things get a bit trickier as you need to align what your audience want to read, to your overall brand tone of voice.