Why Your Corporate Blog Audience Matters So Much
If Maria von Trapp was firm about one thing, it’s that we need to know the basics of something before we can achieve any kind of success with it. In other words, she was a staunch believer in starting at the very beginning. That philosophy applies to pretty much every concept, including launching a corporate blog. Before you post anything, you must start at the beginning. You must clarify who you’re writing to, i.e. your corporate blog audience.
If you’re anxious to reap the many benefits of blogging, I see you and I support you. The ROI available to corporate blogs is very alluring.
- Companies with a corporate blog can see lead growth of more than 100% than companies without a blog (Source)
- More than 90% of the world’s global traffic comes from Google searches (Source). If you post quality content to your blog on a regular basis, you set your blog up for success in generating amazing traffic from Google.
The possible ROI of corporate blogs is so alluring that it’s easy to want to plan blog topics and complete a blog calendar immediately. But launching your blog out of excitement and urgency, without doing the crucial foundational work of clarifying who your readers are is a mistake.
To achieve sustainable results, such as long-term growth in organic traffic and leads, you need to identify your corporate blog audience.
What Is A Corporate Blog Audience?
By “corporate blog audience,” I’m really referring to your company’s target audience or ideal customers. These are the people who will read your blog, and depending on the quality of your content, join your email list, become paying customers, rhapsodize about your company to others, etc.
Many marketing teams think that they know their audience well. But when they decide to create a blog, they get stuck. An effective corporate blog requires you to marry two things. First, knowing your audience deeply. Second, positioning your brand as the company that can serve your audience better than anyone else. Only content created with this foundation of deeply knowing your audience and how your company can uniquely serve them will move your readers to action.
Did you know Hey Sarah can launch and run your corporate blog for you?
Guiding Questions To Clarify Your Corporate Blog Audience
Use these questions, as inspired by the great Julia McCoy, to help you clarify your corporate blog audience:
- First, what are your customers’ pains and fears? What’s their biggest pain, annoyance, frustration or fear in their work/business as it relates to the services your brand offers? If they could have their biggest pain moved off their plate, what would they choose?
- Next, what are your current and future customers’ hopes, dreams, and goals? What are they trying to accomplish in their work/business as it relates to your services? If they could accomplish 1-2 things in their work/business, what would they choose?
- Third, how can your company resolve your customers’ pains and help them accomplish their goals better than any other company on the market? Why should customers choose your company over another company to help them?
As an illustration, let’s say your company provides lead generation software for real estate agencies. The questions that will help you clarify your corporate blog audience might look like:
- What’s the biggest frustration or pain that our current and future customers have with generating leads for their real estate agency? Whether they use software or other tactics, what do they hate or fear the most about generating real estate leads?
- What are our future/current customers’ goals with their lead generation tactics? What are the biggest things they want to accomplish?
- How can our lead generation software resolve our current/future customers’ pain points and help them accomplish their goals? Why should they go with our company over other companies on the market that provide similar services?
To sum up, your corporate blog audience is another term for your target audience or ideal customers. The questions above provide the foundation that every corporate blog needs. A successful blog has content that speaks directly to your audience’s needs, pains and goals. It also asserts your company as the best on the market to serve them.
Content that does not speak clearly to your audience and make your company stand out will fail to move readers to action.
The #1 Reason You Need To Know Your Corporate Blog Audience
Harkening back to the sweet words of Fraulein Maria, creating a clear corporate blog audience is the best place to start. Why? Because it’s data-based. It’s market research. Clarifying your audience requires you to mine your current customers, leads, and internal teams for answers to the guiding questions listed above.
You’ll gather and analyze everyone’s responses, identify patterns, and draw conclusions about the most fruitful topics, keywords, and calls-to-action to use in the blog. Rather than guessing or assuming what your audience wants to read, questions they have or what they search for in Google, you’ll use concrete data.
When your blog content is backed by data, it will be much more effective in moving your readers to move to your next desired step. Maybe that’s completing a form to learn more after reading your blog. Or it could be joining your email list. Perhaps the action is purchasing a low-ticket item to get to know your company a bit more before they make a larger investment.
Whatever action you want your corporate blog audience to take, the likelihood of them taking it is much higher after they read content that really speaks to them. And only by knowing deep, data-driven insights about your audience can you create that type of content.
If You’re Tempted To Skip Your Corporate Blog Audience Research…
Please note. It’s very tempting to limit the amount of market research you do, or skip over this step altogether. I get it. In fact, I almost did that for Hey Sarah. I thought I knew my customers and leads well enough. Gathering data customers/leads can be a long process and I just wanted to launch my blog already. I figured I can go ahead and start my blog, then adjust as I collect market research along the way. If you and your team have similar thoughts, you’re in great company.
In my opinion, you can launch your blog without doing a ton of market research on your corporate audience. You might have enough insight into your customers and leads to create a few blog posts. And market research is an ongoing process, so there’s always time to do it and adjust your strategy accordingly. This is a great option if you’re getting pressure from your boss or leadership team to launch your company’s blog.
But here’s the thing.
If you want your company blog to deliver results, you need to conduct in-depth market research on your audience. These concrete results might include an increase in organic website traffic, leads, purchases and partnership opportunities. When you launch your blog without doing enough research on your corporate blog audience, a few things happen.
First, you run out of topic ideas pretty quickly. Next, you choose keywords based on guesses or assumptions about what your ideal customers are typing into Google or other search engines. You could be way off. Thus, your blog could be attracting people who won’t buy from you. Finally, the blog content itself can feel unfocused and not targeted enough. When readers don’t see themselves in your content or if your content is confusing in any way, they leave.
When you find yourself in this position, you have to double back and conduct that market research. But now that your blog is launched, there’s pressure to maintain your posting frequency. Stress and confusion about next steps ensues. It’s just way more efficient for your time and blog performance to follow Fraulein Maria’s advice’s and start at the beginning with market research.
A company blog that generates results for your company is one that is built upon data-driven customer insights. A blog that lacks that foundation of data is often less successful. In fact, it requires time and effort to correct because the market research needs to be done while maintaining the blog.
While it is possible to launch a blog without that foundation, rich customer data must be incorporated into the blog strategy as soon as possible.
How To Clarify Your Corporate Blog Audience
Clarifying your corporate blog audience has two phases. There’s a big push at the beginning. That’s where you’ll do your in-depth collection of data. In this stage, you’ll establish the key blog topics, keywords and calls-to-action that will move your readers to action. Market research on your audience is also ongoing. In this stage, you’ll identify any new keywords that your audience is searching and new topics based industry or company changes.
For initial, in-depth research on your corporate blog audience:
Conduct 10-20 phone or Zoom interviews with current and non-customers. For current customers, approach the particularly friendly ones about interviewing them for 20 minutes. Ask them the three questions shared above. Have a colleague on the phone to take notes or record the interview and have it transcribed.
For non-customers, post to your company’s social media channels. Create a post that says you’re looking to interview 10-20 people in your specific target audience who want to achieve what your company can help people achieve. Offer an incentive to encourage people to agree to an interview. That could be a Starbucks or Amazon gift card, free business advice with zero strings attached or something else. Don’t be afraid to post several times to get as many interviews as you can.
Ask your company’s sales, product and customer service teams to answer the three questions. You’ll gain additional detail into your audience from a variety of perspectives. Plus, it’s crucial that your entire company agrees on the needs, goals and pains of your customers, and the unique ways your company can help them.
For ongoing research into your corporate blog audience:
Meet regularly with sales, product and customer service teams. Ask each team about the questions, objections, complaints and hopes that they hear from customers and leads. Incorporate them as needed into your corporate blog strategy.
Conduct biannually or yearly customer surveys. This is a great way to conduct more large-scale data collection on your audience. Check in with your customers about any new needs, goals or pain points that have arisen since you last spoke with them. Include a space for customers to agree to a followup conversation. You can speak individually to collect even more data about their needs, goals, etc.
Clearly, the work of knowing your audience must be built into your corporate blog strategy from start to finish. From the initial research to the ongoing learning, and tweaking your blog topics and keywords accordingly, your blog must be rooted in data. In short, you must start at the very beginning.