- Cross-reference what businesses think their target audience is versus their current reality through Google Analytics .
- Create mock-up personas that you can target your campaigns towards.
- Identify key outlets and niches for where your audience consumes media beyond the narrow focus of the business.
- Blueclaw’s Online PR Campaign Manager shines a light on how audience insights can catalyze your campaign results for good.
When we build marketing campaigns, we use a number of metrics to measure success, from the extent of coverage and links to the shift in keyword rankings in the SERPs. However, this ultimately glosses over the real purpose of any campaign – how it improves the bottom line.
Again, this can be interpreted in a myriad of ways from CTR to sales. In this case, we’re going to focus on how getting the campaign in front of the right audience is an important piece of the puzzle in determining success.
1. Identifying your audience
When identifying your audience, there should be a two-pronged approach. Firstly, there is the audience, or customer, as identified by the brand. As in any business, the brand will have spotted an opportunity in the market and target their products towards that audience. However, this does not necessarily marry with whom their audience ends up being online.
This can be due to the fact that clientele has changed since the business’s inception while the product has not, or it can be that the strategy is not targeted enough. So the best way to identify the audience is to look at the available data to create a mockup of who you should be marketing towards.
The Google Analytics way
One way to do this is, of course, through Google Analytics. Through GA you can go to audiences and filter through to create a picture of where the user is coming from. Their age, gender, and location can all help to identify the nature of your campaign, media targets, etc., as well as helping your client adapt their own messaging and better target their core customers.
The manual way
Another way to identify the audience is a little more manual. Does the client have email newsletters or other databases of leads? Can you sort through to help build some mock-up personas that can help tailor your own marketing efforts? Use all that is available (and that your client is willing to share) in order to ideate and build campaigns that will lead to those conversions.
2. Targeting that audience
We’d all love for content to go viral. But sometimes, no matter the number of links generated, you still have missed a trick. A campaign always needs to make sense for a brand’s messaging as well as have an element of making it newsworthy. How else would you get links?
And while we answer many of these questions, we may not always take a very focused approach to outreach in the hope of hitting those link/coverage KPIs. Sometimes we put too much emphasis on the quantity versus the quality of those links.
Example one: Coverage choices
For instance, a link in a trades magazine could mean exponentially more to a client than if they were to get massive coverage (without a link) in a national newspaper. Why? Because at that particular moment in time, your campaign has attracted the attention of the right audience and is more likely to generate a lead or revenue than that one piece of coverage in a national paper.
Example two: Hazy messaging
Or as another example, in the past year, I’ve worked on a couple of campaigns that went viral and gained links internationally. Amazing, right? Yes, but how did it actually improve the bottom line? Well, in the case of one campaign. Not at all. The reasons for that were two-fold, the messaging was a little hazy for the target audience and the target market didn’t really even cover the story. While the international coverage wasn’t anything to sniff at with the likes of GQ, The Daily Express, and more covering the story, it failed to get traction in the US.
The other campaign, Film Franchise Showdown, the messaging was better because it targeted the correct audience. For an iGaming client, the audience will invariably skew male and younger, but not too young. The piece would appeal to that audience in other areas where they consume their news. With coverage in not only national newspapers but also places of entertainment like Comicbook.com and Screen Rant, we’ve still managed to get to them even if the location metric is still something we could improve on.
In both of these examples, the biggest takeaway was the value of targeting the right locations versus the value of wide appeal. If your message falls upon deaf ears and doesn’t improve visibility and sessions, then you’re obviously missing a trick.
3. Finding where your audience lives
We’ve mentioned some metrics that you can use to target and identify the audience, but that misses one more element. Where does that audience live? What sort of media do they consume? It’s important to attribute characteristics to the audience you have in mind?
In building new campaigns, you’re not only thinking about creating something new and newsworthy, but also wondering if it appeals to the customer. Selling software to a CEO or decision-maker of a business is much different from selling software to the average individual looking for something of personal use. Where they consume their news will also differ and you want to make sure that you can reach the right customer, not just any customer.
So rather than a blanket approach to an outreach where anyone who covers tech is included, fine-tune that media-list. And even before you get to that point, what about the actual crux of the idea? Can you be more light-hearted to appeal to a wide audience? If you’re going after the average Joe to download your app, what are some of his interests that are adjacent to your product but not on the nose? Can you explore other niches and angles within that idea? Are these other niches areas where your customer can still be found?
Using tools like Facebook Audiences, BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, and Majestic, you can further identify if your niches and target media is valid and even find more targets to add to your list. You can refine the demographics of your audience to make sure they get your message. You can’t attract customers if they don’t see your client, right? Get your client in front of their customers and you’ll see the uplift soon enough.
Once you’ve highlighted the needs of your audience and where you can find them, you’ll be able to develop content marketing strategies that not only appeal to them but that will also deliver the conversions necessary for the business. Most importantly, you will have the data not only back up the strategy, but also a metric to follow moving forward to see the impact of your messaging.
Natalia Sketchley is an Online PR Campaign Manager at Blueclaw, and is responsible for managing and executing digital PR campaigns for ecommerce, tech, travel, and igaming brands.