Whatever your content goals may be, understanding your target audience is the first step to accomplishing them.

The goal of a brand publication, ultimately, is to establish your company as a respected authority in your industry. To accomplish this, you must encourage a community of dedicated consumers to coalesce around your brand ethos. Defining your target audience is the first step to establishing and reinforcing a lifelong relationship with its members.

Who is Your Target Audience?

Before you put pen to paper, you should always ask: Who am I writing this for?

Are you hoping to reach fitness enthusiasts, win the love of foodies, or help farmers run their businesses more efficiently? Consider developing personas – fictional characters who represent key members of your target audience. By creating characters whose interests and values closely align with those of your brand, you can tailor your content to suit their preferences and help them solve specific problems to which they seek answers.

Some questions to ask yourself when creating your personas:

1. What Do They Do For a Living?

People have long been defined by their professions. In fact, one of the first questions we’re often asked upon meeting someone new is: “What do you do?”

While not all members of your target audience will necessarily work in the same industry or have the same job, perhaps they possess a shared trait that helps them excel in their respective fields. Determining what that trait may be will help you identify the types of people, and the disposable income range of those who are interested in your brand.

2. What Publications Do They Read?

They say if you want to be a writer, you must read, read, and read some more. The idea is to expose yourself to genres that align with your own writing talents as well as those outside of your comfort zone.

Reading content that resonates with your target audience will help you develop a deeper understanding of what they are looking for, and give you an idea about the type of language and subject matter you should mirror in your own publication.

3. What Are Their Goals?

Think about the goals of your target audience, on a large and small scale. What do they hope to accomplish in life — professionally, personally, even daily? Think about how these goals drive their actions, thoughts and, ultimately — their purchasing decisions.

4. What Challenges Do They Face?

After you’ve established the goals of your target audience, think about what could be standing in the way of these goals. Make a list of plausible challenges they could be facing.

Think about how these particular challenges affect their lives, what it would take to overcome them — and how your product or service offerings could help them to get there.

5. How Does Your Content Help Them Achieve Their Goals or Conquer Their Challenges?

By now, you have everything you need to create the right type of content for your brand. You know what types of jobs your target audience possesses, what publications they find helpful and compelling, what goals they wish to accomplish, and what challenges are standing in their way. Your job, now, is to create content that provides them with a tangible benefit.

Developing personas will not only help you focus on producing the perfect content for your brand, but it will also allow you to speak more personally and directly to potential consumers. Once you’ve answered these key questions, go a step further by engaging in dialogue with real members of your target audience. Ask them what would make them want to read and share your content, incorporating their responses into your game plan.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer brand publishing services and strategies to transform your company blog into a sophisticated trade publication that drives visibility and influence in your market. Learn more about brand publishing here.

Author Ami Foote

A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Ami is a staff writer at L&T. She has previously written for Ireland.com, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Britax Child Safety, and a variety of non-profits around the country. On a good day, you can find Ami obsessively consuming one or all of the following: folk music, NPR, black coffee, jeopardy, or Guinness.

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