Free Guide: 5 ways to understand what content your audience wants
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5 ways to understand what content your audience wants

With content trends changing faster than ever before and the rise of social media platforms like TikTok, it can be hard to know what content will grab your audience’s attention. If you’re racking your brain trying to think of ideas – we’ve put together a handy list of five ways to understand what content your audience wants.

Why is it important to make content my audience wants to see?

Keeping your audience happy is a big deal. Both your existing and new audiences could turn into potential clients, so it’s important your content is actively engaging them. Word of mouth also shouldn’t be overlooked; your audience is more likely to recommend your business if your content is shareable. Putting it simply, engaging content helps to both grow and retain your audience.

Creating content with your audience in mind also allows you to create impact and drive towards your overall business goals – instead of just shouting into the void. By creating content your audience wants to consume, you’re providing value, not noise.

Sounds good, so how do I know what content my audience wants?

Dip into your audience research toolbox

When it comes to understanding your audience, research is the obvious starting point. But doing this manually is time-consuming and no longer necessary, thanks to helpful tools.

There are a bunch of tools out there that can help you research your audience’s interactions with social media, keywords, competitors – the works. Some examples are:

Two tools that we use daily here at Matchstick Creative are Sparktoro and Sprout Social. Sparktoro is a great all-rounder tool (with free and paid options) where you can find your audience and research the websites, hashtags, keywords and key phrases they are using. Having this information at your fingertips is a necessary first step to understanding the content your audience wants to see. We love using Sparktoro when crafting a content strategy.

Sprout Social is another great way of understanding how your audience is using social media. Their reporting features enable you to see how your content is performing against competitors, engagement levels, paid social performance and more. Sprout Social also has an add-on feature – ‘Listening’ – that allows you to dive deeper into audience insights. 

With the Listening tool, you can monitor topics of discussion, be aware of the public’s perception of your brand, analyse industry trends and more. 

It’s important to note that Sprout Social’s Listening tool comes at an additional cost to their subscription. If you have the budget to invest in tools, that’s always helpful – but you don’t have to break the bank to research your audience. Our Content Director, Ruth, delivered a talk for the Black Jeweller’s Network (a community that offers advice and online events for black jewellers) on delivering big ideas for social media on a small budget:

Stay on top of industry trends

The digital and creative industry is ever-changing, so it’s imperative to have a grasp on the latest trends. Changes in both the social media industry, as well as your own, can have a significant impact on how your audience interacts with content. 

There are several ways you can keep an eye on content trends, here are some ideas to get you started:

As well as using tools, another way to keep on top of industry changes and updates is to network. Get involved and join in conversations at work, at events and online. If you aren’t already, follow industry thought leaders on LinkedIn – they’re bound to have an opinion on every new trend.

Having consistent, open communication with your audience is also important. If you hold regular meetings with customers or clients, it’s always a good idea to check in with them on any news they may have from their own businesses and backgrounds. In Matchstick Creative marketing team meetings, we conduct a ‘newsroom’ exercise where we discuss relevant news and updates to us and our clients – whether that’s through word of mouth, social media or the news.

Testing, testing, 123

An oldie but a goodie – A/B split testing is a great way to find out what content your audience finds the most engaging. A/B split testing is when you amplify two pieces of content that are almost identical – apart from one difference – so you can see which performs better. This form of test allows you to exercise any research and assumptions you may have about your audience.

Using a social media post as a test example, you may want to compare:

  • The asset – whether its a photo or video
  • A small detail in the copy 
  • The call to action 

‘To determine your variable, look at the elements in your marketing resources and their possible alternatives for design, wording, and layout. Other things you might test include email subject lines, sender names, and different ways to personalise your emails.’ – HubSpot

Facebook ads are a great vehicle for A/B split testing, as you can play around with audience demographics. For example, your primary target audience may be women over the age of 40. If you put out two ads – one is targeting women over 40 and one men over 50 – you may be surprised to find that the male audience actually engages with the content more. This could cause you to completely rethink your marketing approach. 

Social Media Examiner has a great how-to video on A/B split testing for Facebook Ads:

Workshop it

We LOVE a workshop at Matchstick Creative. Not only are they a fun way to bring the team together and brainstorm, but they are an invaluable step to understanding things on a deeper level. When it comes to understanding what content your audience wants, a Discovery Workshop has you covered. 

As part of our Discovery Workshops, we do an exercise called ‘User Stories’ that help us figure out who your audience is, what they’re trying to do and why they’re trying to do it. There are also several other exercises that can help us to understand your audience, budget, priorities and scope of the work – which will all inform what content you produce. If you’re curious about Discovery Workshops, we have a blog post about why they’re important.

Or if you could use some help understanding who your audience is and what platforms they’re using, we also run Target Audience Workshops

Just ask!

When in doubt, just ask. Surveys may seem outdated compared to all of the tools I have mentioned, but they are a great way to solidify your research. If you have people in your life that belong to your target audience – you can collect data the old-fashioned way with a pen-to-paper survey. However, there are more efficient ways to gather and record data; some include:

You can ask questions like; ‘What are your favourite social media accounts to follow and why?’ and ‘What content formats do you find the most interesting? First think about what you need to know, then design questions that will help you get there. 

Go get ‘em 

Give some of these methods a try and you’ll have a better understanding of what content your audience wants to see in no time! If you could do with some extra help, why not book in a workshop with us?

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