Reading the beloved “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” with my daughter made me think about chocolate, of course – but also about good business.

Willy Wonka is a creative, entrepreneurial genius. He crafts the most seductive sweets, hides golden tickets to amplify sales and dangles the elusive promise of the Everlasting Gobstopper. The guy is a bit sinister, but you gotta give him credit: He knows what his audience wants.

Give them what they search

Your content is part of your product, but it doesn’t belong to you – it belongs to your audience. The community owns the narrative because they come to you through organic search, such as searching online by a keyword or question.

Your job is to make sure you’re answering their questions. Luckily, you have resources available to give them what they want and need:

  • SEO research tools like Google Trends
  • Content partners like Aha Media Group

Here are 5 tips to focus content on your audience:

#1 Prioritize community 

Your content should be an entrée of what consumers seek, with just a side of what you want them to hear. You might encounter executives who sound like Veruca Salt: “Don’t care how, I want it now!” But even though the “C” in C-suite doesn’t stand for community, the community should be your priority.

Sure, there’s an argument for supporting business objectives. It’s often the fastest way to your boss’s heart. But you should weave these messages into the content your audience seeks.

#2 Do your research

When consumers want an answer, they ask Google. Those questions (key phrases) drive organic search results. Want to appear on that first page of results? Include keywords to improve the chances that your content connects with the consumer.

For more guidance on SEO (search engine optimization), see our 7 SEO Tips for Your Content.

#3 Talk to your consumers

SEO results will tell you a lot, but speaking directly to your consumers can tell you more. When Aha Media Group starts a project, we try to talk with the audience. We ask about their concerns and needs – and often discover nuances of the user journey that inform content.

#4 Consider A/B testing

Your content doesn’t have to be static. The best way to prove that it’s working – or not – is to look at its performance. How many people are finding your content? How much time are they spending with it?

If you’re not sure what’s working, set a baseline and test against it. Shorter content, different headings, higher placement – all of these factors can affect the readability and user-friendliness of your site.

#5 Don’t forget they’re people too

Empathy goes a long way toward making your content speak to the community. Your content should reflect what your audience seeks, as well as how they’re feeling. When consumers look for information, they want details specific to them. How great you are is merely a support point to show that you’re capable of helping them.

The secret ingredient

People are the special ingredient for great content. (Not in a Soylent Green sense!) But it’s the people at the center – your audience, you, the people behind the services you provide – that make content rise above algorithms and canned marketing messages. After all, Willy Wonka is successful because of people: his own charisma, his captivating team (the Oompa Loompas, of course) and his ability to tap into people’s emotional response to the delicious treats he offers.

Your content is the Golden Ticket that connects you with your audience. Prioritize the consumer, and you’ll find sweet success.

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