How to get into an audience-first mindset

Your content should provide practical value to your audience, offering solutions to their problems or answers to their questions. It's simple - if you can help answer a question for a particular type of customer to your business, it should be a useful piece of content.

Brendan Gilbert
Brendan Gilbert
November 29, 2023

I recently posted about what audience first content is, and I wanted to follow up with a simple way to shift your mindset to an audience-first approach when you are thinking of creating content.

You can quickly shift your creative mindset to an audience-first viewpoint by asking yourself a series of questions before you start devising or planning content.

Below is the series of questions you should ask yourself to ensure you are thinking with an audience-first mindset when planning or coming up with an audience-first content strategy.

The audience-first approach: questions to ask yourself

Is the content useful to your audience?

Your content should provide practical value to your audience, offering solutions to their problems or answers to their questions. It's simple - if you can help answer a question for a particular type of customer to your business, it should be a useful piece of content.

If you need help finding the questions to answer, you’ll find questions from your target audience plastered all over the internet. From forums and boards like Reddit and Quora, social media sites like TikTok and Facebook to the queries your customer services or reception teams deal with everyday.

You’ll have content ideas coming at you all the time so don’t try to fill your content with keywords or add fluff to build word counts.

The best content answer’s your audience’s questions quickly and effectively.

Does the content demonstrate your expertise and knowledge?

You need to know how you are going to showcase your expertise by addressing your audience's concerns with insightful and well-informed content.

To further boost your authority, you need to build on your E-E-A-T factors by adding author boxes and your credentials so users can understand if you are an authority on the topic.

For example, for my credentials, I could write “I’ve been in digital marketing for over 15 years now, having worked in a variety of roles both agency and client side. I’ve specialised in SEO over the years, and before co-founding TwelveTwentyFive, I was the Head of SEO at a UK-leading SEO agency.

Is it content related to what you do as a business?

Ensure that your content aligns with your business objectives and speaks directly to your target audience.

Specificity wins in today’s attention-grabbing online world. If for example you are a spa and wellbeing business for a certain type of clientele, you will produce videos or write content on the health benefits of spa days for your audience. You wouldn’t write about spa days for dogs or cats.

Specificity in your content will help you increase your topical authority and gain your brand visibility quicker than a scattergun “Oh this should be easy to rank for” keyword targeting approach.

Does the content answer the user's questions?

Directly addressing your audience's queries builds trust and establishes your content as a valuable resource.

Work out how you will answer the user’s question in the most direct and useful way possible. For questions without an exact answer, say a Removals company pricing list, give the audience specific examples.

So for a removal company, they could discuss pricing with clear examples and by using averages.

For a typical 3-bed house move from a west London address to a south London address, our company would look to charge on average £650 for the assignment.

Factors that affect the price include X, Y and Z but a usual range for house moves of this type is £500 to £900”

Would a user have a good experience from reading your content?

User experience matters. A well-crafted, user-friendly piece of content enhances the overall experience for your audience.

How many social media posts or videos have you watched that make you scroll or wait for the answer. Suckered in by clickbait titles to read reams of nonsense before getting to answer whilst clicking off at least 3 ads in the process?

When you meet a person in the street, would you interrupt the conversation to show them an ad, talk about something unrelated or shout at them about a different product or service. No. So why do it online? Remember it's a simple case of people buying from people, so make it natural and not so pushy.

The above is a basic example of a poor audience experience. To improve the chances of a great user experience, keep it short if it's a quick answer or explain and structure your content so it helps the audience through the experience. Remove the noise and distractions and focus on the question at hand.

In fact, this blog is very much a result of these questions. I was going to add this answer to the question “How to get into an audience-first mindset” to my previous blog post on “What is audience-first content”. 

But why? They are two separate questions requiring different answers. Hence I'ver split them into two blogs to be more specific, more helpful and hopefully provide a better experience for you, the audience.

Can you answer why you have produced this content?

Clearly define the purpose of your content. Whether it's to educate, inform, or entertain, understanding the "why" behind your content creation adds purpose and direction.

In this case, I’m aiming to help my target audience of in-house marketing professionals to understand the fundamental shift of organic search from ‘search-engine first’ to ‘audience-first’ and how to do it.

After reading the above, I hope I’ve achieved that very aim!

I hope you found my thoughts on how to get into an audience-first mindset useful. Let me know if you agree with these questions.

Want a chat about how you can start producing audience-first content?  Book in a 15 minute consultancy call here.


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