Without audience strategy, you have no content strategy

Some members of the Boating Industry staff attended the Minnesota Magazine and Publishing Association Summit last week, which was a great opportunity to listen to speakers and learn more effective ways to bring the tops news and best practices for the marine industry to you.

During one of the sessions I attended, “Solving the Content Conundrum,” speaker Jen Kane spoke at length about ways to approach content strategy in digital publications.

One thing she said really stood out to me and is something anyone putting out content and using it as a digital marketing strategy should consider: “Without an audience development strategy, you have no content strategy at all.”

She said that many of us suffer from Audience Assumptive Disorder, the belief that great content magically draws the audiences our businesses need to succeed.

But here’s the truth: 14-year-olds can and do publish anything every day. You’re not special anymore if you’re simply publishing content.

She talked about the three phases of “the digital revolution” that businesses have gone through: Presence, when the goal of a company was to have a website; Discovery, when the goal was for someone to find said website; and Utility, when the goal is to make your content useful. We should all be in the Utility phase by now. No one will keep coming back for your content if it only satisfies your needs and not theirs.

To know what is useful, you have to know your audience. You have to know who you want to attract to your website, or who is already there, and what they want to see to ensure they keep coming back.

Digital marketing and content publishing may seem like something you just do and hope it works out, but it won’t if you aren’t putting in the time to analyze what works and what doesn’t. Digital marketing is not a throwaway task – it is a detailed, research-heavy and very effective tool for your business if you are putting in the effort to make sure it succeeds.

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