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In the content world – whether it’s your blog, your website or your social media channels – your audience is everything. Whatever you write, post, and promote is ultimately for your end users. This means that you need to constantly monitor what content you’re serving, how you’re serving it, why you’re doing it, and whether your audience is truly appreciating it (especially since you’ve put so much effort into producing it).

Many companies do not realize that keeping track of their audience’s pulse is critically important, and publish post after post with no relevance. Or they do not incorporate the right mix of “engaging” information.

Don’t make this mistake. Follow these four essential rules to make sure you’re correctly talking to your audience:

1. Have a Conversation With Them

The idea is not to talk down to your readers, or sound like you’re preaching. Both will backfire. Don’t think like traditional media (television and radio), which adopt a certain tone and style that reflects their medium’s one-way communication line. Times have changed, and you need to adopt a more friendly, approachable, and conversational tone.

The whole point of social media is that it’s a two-way street, so you need to talk to your audience as human beings. Everyday language is easily understood, and does not put people off. If you sound too dry or “corporate,” depending on your industry, you’ll quickly lose a chunk of your audience.

2. Talk to Them Directly

Rather than addressing everyone as a monolithic, mass audience, using a direct voice works best – especially when you’re revealing or explaining something. Generic information might not be seen as helpful or attractive, but if you personalize it and address your audience directly, you’re more likely to hit a sweet spot.

For example, a headline saying “10 Tips for Home Business” is too generic. To make it more relevant say, “Struggling With Your Home Business? These 10 Tips Will Get You Ahead!”

3. Know and Understand Them

In other words, Marketing 101. Knowing who your readers (or stakeholders) will help you define your optimal target audiences, and find the communities they participate in. Read up on research that will tell you where your audience is spending its time online.

Once you’ve identified your audience, you need to find out what kind of content they tend to engage with. What are they downloading, and what is provoking more reactions? What are they viewing more? Which posts are they sharing most? You’ll need to monitor these things over time in order to understand your audience’s dynamics.

This data is priceless when forming and adjusting your content marketing strategy. Timing is key: posting the right content, at the right place, and at the right time, can make all the difference.

4. Engage Them

Typically, people respond to calls-to-action, especially when they arouse their curiosity. That’s why companies engage their audiences through contests: they keep readers busy and engaged with the brand.

Of course, how you engage your audience depends on your industry. For example, if you run a travel company or sell healthy snacks, engagement opportunities come easier, as consumers tend to have strong opinions on them. But if you’re selling insurance, or water filters, engagement will be more challenging (but not impossible).

Plenty of brands take up topical issues and then create campaigns around them. Diet Coke, for example, launched a massively successful Twitter and Instagram contest (#ShowYourHeart), resulting in higher engagement. And Whole Foods’ video channel addresses the wide variety of issues their customers care about, winning their hearts.

Keep on Engaging!

Now that you know how to talk to your readers, be sure to subscribe to our blog for more tips on finding and engaging your audience — and if you need help with your strategy or content creation, get in touch with us. We’d love to help you out.

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