How do you attract devoted audience to your corporate media? Audience that is interested in your company as a whole, not only in one product or service it has to offer?
One hit wonder and… then what?
Many marketers don’t fully understand how audience – a group of lasting recipients – gathers around the brand’s message. The audience expects to have a common experience. The recipients hit ‘subscribe’ after they get free content that they like. Why? Because they expect to get more interesting content in the future. They are waiting for something they don’t know yet. A subscriber does not subscribe to the content he or she already received, but to the one they’re going to get. That’s why being successful in building audience is not about another viral – a video which spreads fast on the Internet. “Popularity of the video itself is not as important as its goal and the effect it has,” says Robert Rose. Let’s take a critical look at two examples of such online success. The first one comes from Corning, manufacturer of precision glass materials for industrial application. The company’s B2B marketing video got more than 20 million views over three years.
The second example is Metro Trains in Melbourne (Australia). This local operator of a suburban train put a funny animation on the Internet to warn inhabitants and tell them to pay attention when standing close to arriving trains. The music video “Dumb ways to die” got as many as 114 million views over three years (warning: the song will stay with you for long!).
In both cases one may doubt whether such huge recognizability of one corporate message has real impact on business: does it bring the expected result and attracts potential customers? One may wonder: does such a huge number of views mean that I targeted the right recipients? What part of those millions of viewers are in fact my target audience (manufacturers buying precision glass or passengers of Melbourne public transport)? What next? How do you keep the interest over time? What do you create as a company to ultimately attract future subscribers?
“Viral is sometimes good for building audiences. Remarkable, intent is always good. It depends on the goal we’re trying to create.” says Robert Rose.
Find and know your niche
If you don’t want to get caught in a dead end, you need to know what kind of people you are addressing your content to. If you were a media company, your target group could be e.g. women at the age of 18–35, but you operate in a concrete sector and provide solutions for concrete recipients. If you speak to everyone, you speak to no one. For instance: who is the target audience when you prepare an application for hospitals? The patients? For your concrete content patients are not the recipients – they are a market sector. Is it Maria, a single parent of two kids who live in the city? Or is it Jennifer, the wealthy working mom of two athletic boys in the suburbs? The value that she has, that each of these women have is different. The content we would develop for them to deliver that value is different.
That’s the critical point.The key is that target audiences are not only our means of intent and advantage, but they can also be a source of differentiation for us as we’re trying to differentiate against our competitors and other parts of the marketplace that we may be trying to differentiate again. Just because we can deliver to a particular audience doesn’t mean you have to.
In order to find your recipient in the B2B sector, you need to take a look at the decision/production processes and the role division at the company that is your potential client. Robert Rose encourages: “Don’t be afraid to differentiate and to search for your target group somewhere else than your competitors.” The very fact you can address a particular recipient does not mean you have to. Content marketing is all about finding a niche. How about expanding the target group and going beyond the management, for whom your competitors have already developed a great content marketing platform? Maybe it’s worth creating useful content for people who are not decisive and do not sign purchase agreements themselves, but can influence the decision making process in the company? They can play a role at an earlier stage of building awareness about companies which should be invited to the auction.
Then you have to make an effort to understand what characterizes the person working at a given position: what they like, what their day looks like (not the process of using our product or service). Only then can you offer something valuable. Maybe the IT guy working at the company we would like to sell our solutions to does not care if he’s 25% more effective at work. But he does need more time to be himself. If you understand him as a person, you can provide him with various content suggestions, e.g. show him how his peers gain work life balance or present him with the latest time management trends and useful applications. These can be good, bad or mediocre ideas, but surely they provide value to the person, and not directly to your company.