Before you decide on which digital content strategy will work best for your brand and goals, it’s important to know as much as you can about your audience. Without doing the research and analyzing who your readers are, you can’t even begin to sort out important aspects of your strategy like messaging or how to retain those loyal followers. So to get started, let’s explore a few ways that you can begin to better understand your audience: 

Research beforehand

Start by doing your market research and be sure that the demographics you’ve chosen are the right fit for your brand and product. American FactFinder is a great and free tool that can help you find important pieces of information about specific demographics by using U.S. census information. YouGov is another free service that can provide a wholesome sketch of your target persona, which is pulled from a database of more than 200,000 consumers in the U.S. To get the right data, all you need is to identify a brand, activity, book, movie, celebrity, etc. that you know aligns with your audience. Although it’s always great to start with a demographic that you assume will be your target audience, make sure to broaden your scope and learn about related niches. By the time you’re done, you should confidently be able to walk away with at least a few conclusive statements about your audience. 


Evaluate your competitors 

Consider analyzing your competitors and their strategies as another form of research. By picking a competitor who shares your same target audience, you can evaluate their brand voice, marketing strategies, and messaging. This is a great opportunity to understand if some phrasing or media may work better than others. Learn what they're doing so that you can carefully consider what to do differently (or similarly!). This also allows you to develop a unique approach and set yourself apart from the competition. Evaluating what else is out there is a great time to get inspired, brainstorm, and get those creative juices flowing!  


Monitor reader comments

Engagement and comments are incredibly important to any content marketing strategy, and you should always be paying attention to how often people are responding to your content, how they’re responding, and how many people are engaging 💬. Our motto is typically the more engagement (comments, likes and shares) the better! You can then use this information to discover what content topics your audience values or what types of messaging doesn’t perform as well. Audience analytics is another great way to gain insights into your audience, and you can start tracking things like how many users are reading the comments, engaging on your site, and subscribing to your email list. You can also track growth month over month and which of your readers are new, returning, or recovered. Analyze these metrics over time to establish a pattern to help guide your through content creation. 


Conduct polls or surveys 

It makes sense to want further information apart from just general demographics. One of the most straightforward ways to learn more about your audience is by simply asking them! Creating a survey or poll is an easy and low-cost (usually free) way to collect information from your audience. SurveyMonkey, LeadQuizzes, Typeform, or Crowdsignal are all free services that provide polling or surveys. Brainstorm what you want to know about your target audience, create a concise list of questions for the survey, and send it out to your followers on social, email subscribers, or let it live on your site (personally I love using a lightbox feature when I have an active poll)! Afterwards, you can analyze the results and hopefully have gained additional insights to help guide your future content creation.  

Do you utilize alternative methods from understanding your audience? Share them with us in the comments below!