In the crowded digital content landscape, a clear and concise message can break through the noise.

Your content strategy should be like a well-planned road trip: before you sit down behind the wheel, it’s important to know where you’re going. When writing for a brand audience, whether consumer or B2B, it’s essential to have a clear handle on what you’re hoping to communicate, to whom you are communicating, and the action you aim to inspire in readers.

Answers to the following three questions will help content creators chart a clear path forward for every piece of brand content, helping readers to digest information more quickly and engage with it more authentically.

1. Who is your target audience?

Before attempting to communicate complex ideas, it’s essential to identify the group that you are addressing. If you’re writing for a B2B audience comprised of fellow industry insiders, the voice you’ll use and the context you provide will be tailored accordingly.

If you’re addressing a broader consumer audience, consider where your readers are located in the purchase funnel, what brand interactions they’ve had previously, and how they’ve come across your content to begin with. Analytics tools make it possible to pinpoint audience behavior, shedding valuable light on the origins and preferences of your audience at the time that they engage with your content.

2. What one thing or things do you want your reader to take away from your content?

If you can’t succinctly describe what it is you’d like your audience to learn from your content, it’s likely readers will get lost. Determine your thesis statement before writing, and ensure each section of your post or article brings your audience to a clearer understanding of that overarching message.

It can be helpful to craft accompanying short-form or social content as a gauge of your message’s strength. Is it easy or challenging to compose a tweet that conveys your point of view? How long is it taking you to write a headline and standfirst? If it’s challenging for you as the author, imagine how difficult it will be for your audience to digest your primary takeaways.

3. What do you want readers to do after they read your content?

Your audience has made it through your 500-word post. Now what? While great content certainly fosters brand affinity and creates positive brand interactions, it can be challenging to measure its effectiveness without a clear call to action.

Don’t assume your readers will infer your desired response; instead, invite them to learn more from your brand e-book, fill out an informational survey, or follow you on Twitter. While you should be careful to avoid a hard-sell, make sure your reader knows exactly how to get more involved should they wish to do so.

In the fast-paced landscape of content consumption, digital audiences have countless brands vying for their attention at any given moment. Thankfully, digital mediums offer numerous ways to communicate complicated ideas and opaque data clearly to an untrained audience — from visual storytelling to data visualization to social media teasers. Content creators should take intentional strides to understand the tools available to them, leveraging each to engage audiences in a wide range of complex subject matter and ideas.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer thought leadership services to turn your company executives’ opinions and insights into authoritative content that starts meaningful sales conversations. Learn more about thought leadership here.

Author Grace Stearns

A graduate of Pepperdine University, Grace has worked in PR and brand communications at publishing giants like Condé Nast, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, and Simon & Schuster. She writes about content marketing, social media, and technology for L&T's blog. A reluctant West Coast transplant, Grace lives in Brooklyn and spends a majority of her free time curled up with a good book.

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