Find Your Tribe With Content Marketing
Seth Godin, a writer, speaker, marketing expert, and influencer, describes audiences as tribes, which are groups of people with shared beliefs. As a startup or founder, it's important to determine who your product or service is for and how to connect with them. This is what Seth Godin refers to as finding your tribe.
Content marketing serves as a means to establish this connection. It involves consistently providing valuable content that attracts people who identify with your tribe. While paid search and ads can be part of your strategy, building an audience that you own will yield long-term benefits. But where should you begin?
Firstly, you need to think like a media business or publisher. The goal of your marketing strategy should not solely be to sell more products but to identify and cultivate an engaged audience that trusts you and eventually becomes your customer. Your goals should not be driven by popularity contests but by what success looks like for your content. It's important to understand that your content won't appeal to everyone, so determining your minimum viable audience is crucial. Casting too wide a net may result in content that lacks specificity.
When identifying your audience, consider not only your buyers but also influencers in your industry and individuals within target organisations who can influence your buyers internally. Understand their needs, pain points, and personal goals. Recognise that personal risk, or the fear of failure, strongly influences buying behaviour.
The needs of your audience may be related to or tangential to your product or service. For example, if your product is sold to government entities and requires an understanding of government procurement, providing assistance in that area can address their most urgent need. Additionally, if your product or service requires education, you must inform your audience about the problem it solves and how it can be resolved. Remember that you're not only competing with similar vendors but with all the information available on the internet related to your industry or category.
To stand out, you must give your target audience a reason to choose your community and content over others. Offer unique research, insights, customer case studies, or a differentiated point of view. Focus on a niche within a broader category or topic that is currently underserved. Although it may seem counterintuitive, catering to a smaller niche can help you establish trust and expand your audience over time.
When it comes to building your content marketing strategy, avoid the temptation to be present on all channels at once. Validate whether your audience is present on a particular channel and consumes the type of content you plan to produce. Instead, focus on a medium and channel where you can excel before expanding. Be deliberate in driving your audience to an owned media property, such as a mailing list, rather than relying solely on social media platforms.
Consistency, predictability, and reliability are key to whichever platform and medium you choose. It takes time for people to become aware of your presence and locate your valuable content. Whether it's a weekly LinkedIn newsletter or a monthly podcast, remain committed to your chosen channel.
As a content publisher, you'll need to market your content marketing. Simply building it and expecting an audience to come is no longer sufficient. While organically building an audience is increasingly difficult due to the noise and social media algorithms favouring paid models, you can still engage with key members of your intended audience through social media. Build a target list, follow them, share and like their content, and establish trust and awareness within that core group. Gain insights into what your audience needs.
At some point, you may need to incorporate paid promotion into your strategy to accelerate audience growth. Use the insights you've gained about your audience's preferences and needs to target your ad spend effectively. Above all, be generous and useful in your content sharing, focusing on providing value rather than selling.
Lastly, continually assess and track the effectiveness of your strategy. Your audience will provide feedback and engagement metrics will indicate whether your content resonates with them. Adjust your approach as needed based on this feedback.
By following these principles and focusing on building and engaging with your tribe, you can establish a loyal audience that trusts your content and ultimately converts into customers.