Audience Part One: Five Ways to Grow Your Audience as an Established Brand
2020 brings new resolutions and opportunities with it. We have all made our own personal resolutions. However, have you considered setting an audience resolution as you jump into the new year? Below are a few methods to growing your audience that we consider highly beneficial to anyone in the industry. It is the perfect time to consider and review the best practices to building a stronger audience. We are certain you can check the box on many of these, but what are you missing and what could you take a few steps further in order to drive the best results in the new year?
- Take a Step Back: Own Your Niche and Know Your Audience
Start off by taking a deep dive into the reason why your brand has existed for years. What ‘truly’ is the niche and the market you are in? Why and how does your audience come to you for answers? Being able to recognize that niche and focus on the ‘why’ will help lay the foundation for success when growing your audience.
According to Content Marketing Institute’s Marcia Riefer Johnston you should always design a campaign of growing your audience with the audience in mind. Johnston lays out how a company (Quartz) recognized that their audience is built of decision makers that consume content primarily on their phones.
Since Quartz researchers found that executives throughout the world (its audience) consume news more on phones than on desktops, Quartz designs for mobile devices first and desktop second.
As an established brand, you should know your niche and audience very well. If not, it might be time for some market research and analyzation to better identify that niche. If you miss this first and crucial step in setting up a new campaign it could lead to critical flaws in the campaign before things even get off the ground.
- Quality Over Quantity: Run Focus Groups
Your brand is established, so the data and the teams to create strong content are at your disposal. Focus on the quality of the audience vs. the quantity of names for all campaigns.
Identify who your editorial team may consider key audience members and set up several focus groups to understand why they come to your brand for information. Mix that with decisions makers or contributors from customers on the editorial side and you have a powerhouse of people to learn from and build off before any marketing campaign even starts.
Researchers are using much smaller groups to conduct market research than they have in the past, and with good results. The outcomes when using smaller numbers of participants in focus groups often are deeper and probe the unconscious or unexpressed preferences of audiences. Don’t be afraid to get small before going big.
Most importantly, when you are done with the research — look at your data. Can that be segmented better? Can sending to fewer but more targeted of an audience some of your more curated content yield higher results.
- Utilizing Relationships: Influencer Marketing
Who is qualified as an influencer? Influencers must be trusted figures within a niche community and retain a loyal following. In addition, they typically possess knowledge or experience about what they are advertising.
Influences love to talk about themselves so give them ample opportunity to speak. They believe in what product they are embracing and see themselves as visionaries. In return for giving them a platform, they will help spread the word about your brand (and don’t be afraid to ask them to do so) and that will help build your audience with the right people.
Put faith in your editorial team as they constantly have their ears to the ground on who is important to them and who is talking about your brand on social media, at events, and other closed groups.
- Evergreen: Repurpose content
Ever wonder why TV and movies are being re-made over and over again? The simple answer: the audience knows what they like and the formula works. Why can’t this be done in the publishing world?
First, start off by diving into your analytics to see what content should be repurposed. Once you have a list built of the top content from 2019, pull in an editor or two and run down the list with them. Have them identify what stories are evergreen and can remain relevant in 2020.
Once the evergreen content is identified look at changing up the design or layout of those pieces to help gain a new audience. According to WordStream, some users prefer visual infographics over text statistics. Some choose podcasts over eBooks. Reformatting your content for different mediums means appealing to more audiences and extending your reach.
- Co-Branding: Partner with Clients
If you are in sales, please look away as this next section may hurt your eyes and your soul. Consider partnering with clients, specifically larger clients, on an innovative editorial campaign for zero dollars to help build an audience. It is an effective way to grow your audience with an established brand in your market. Consider it a long-term investment for your company that can turn into new revenue in a year once you are able to help generate a larger audience – not just with this client but other clients as well.
When considering which clients to partner with, consider the following:
- Does the brand align with your values?
- Will they help you to access an appropriate new audience?
- Will your current customers benefit from the promotion?
If the brand checks out in all three areas, then begin discussions on partnering with the client on the marketing campaign.
Gaining a new audience is within your reach and often comes with misplaced expectations. Setting up the proper foundation for the marketing campaign is crucial. Marketers shouldn’t be hesitant to get editorial involved, at the very least as an advisor or mentor to the campaign. The combined team effort will work to build out the content the audience craves. Incorporating editorial with data and relationships of other brands creates a formula for more innovative campaigns that will resonate with the right audience.
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