One of the strongest assets your brand can have is a target audience who follows or subscribes to your activity. But getting that audience in the first place lacks a clear-cut path. You need a plan, someone on your team to manage this essential task: an audience strategist. Whether people follow or subscribe to your brand for updates on news, the latest products or fun and entertaining and fun content, building an audience of potential customers and brand advocates is now more important than ever for your business. 90% of companies say they their number one reason for investing in content marketing is to build an audience.
What is an audience strategist?
Many (or even most) organizations refer to their audience strategists as content marketing managers, content managers, content marketers, etc. The formal title doesn’t matter. What’s important is the function they perform — building an audience. Robert Rose of Content Marketing Institute mirrors this same idea: “Content marketers are perfectly suited for this job. Managing the asset called an audience has much in common with managing the asset called content.”
A good audience strategist knows exactly how to generate interest in your brand. Promising candidates may have certifications from HubSpot Content Marketing Academy, NewsCred Content Marketing Certification, Copyblogger’s Certified Content Marketer program, or other such accredited certifications, and valuable on-the-job experience building an audience for a startup, an established business, or any other community need. Why do you need to go to the stress of hiring an audience strategist?
Here are four clear reasons why this role is critical for your team:
1. Better content creation management
To build an audience, you need content creators — content writers, graphic designers, video creators, and more, and while they’ll help power your site or platform, a strategist will lead your creative team towards refined strategies and keep their efforts in line with the company’s goals.
Former content manager at Marketo, Dayna Rothman, describes how she leads the content creators (marketers) on her team and gives them a clear direction for their audience:
The processes may vary, but a strategist’s role is to make sure all content is on brand so the CMO can focus on the bigger picture, akin to what a section editor at a newspaper does for the EIC.
2. Understanding the audience like no other person
While the CMO functions as the expert and head for everything marketing in your business, you need someone else on your team who knows the ins and outs of specific consumers and someone who can own the role of knowing exactly how your audience engages with your brand. Of course your CMO — and perhaps a few others in your team — knows your audience in and out, but they may up to their eyebrows managing other aspects of your marketing. There’s always a lot to do. No wonder 53% of marketers say they have “too much to do with too little time”. You need an expert on your team who can specifically own your audience. An audience strategist is that expert.
While other experts on your team are optimizing your site for search engines — posting content on social platforms and other places— your audience strategist focuses on the readers. She uses every available resource to understand your target audience and get the best out of them for your business.
3. Building a target audience
In the end, you want die-hard fans following your brand. We call these folks “brand advocates.” They not only keep your business running, but are happy to tell their friends and family who will also complete purchases and amplify your brand and content. And customers trust brand advocates more than brands — 9 of 10 consumers trust recommendations from their peers while only 2 of 10 trust online ads. Your ideal audience will happily recommend you to their friends and family, and that’s the objective of a good audience strategist. From their relevant training or experience, an audience strategist will think up ideas to draw your prospects in and offer them something of value they can’t refuse. Using solid audience-building strategies, a good eye for hiring great content creators, and using targeted keywords and topics, an audience strategist will build a community of potential customers that can serve your business mouth-watering revenue for life.
4. Conversion of subscribed audience into paying customers
It’s not enough to build an audience. There’s absolutely no reason for you to have an audience of hundreds or thousands of people if they won’t convert into actual paying customers at the end of the day and even bring other potential customers to you. A great audience strategist will ensure you’re not just building a list of followers and subscribers, but actual people who will commit to doing repeated business with you. This strategist cares more about metrics that matter than vanity metrics.
Hire a great audience strategist
When people are a part of your community, it’s much easier to sell to them than if they’re not. Online entrepreneur Reese Evans explains how building an audience has helped her grow her business: “Wondering how I quit my job, and generated a $14,000-month in sales just 2 months after quitting—without using any paid ads?… The secret is in EFFECTIVELY growing an audience catered perfectly to my online business.” According to Reese, her success can be directly traced to her subscribed audience of 21k followers on Instagram, 2000+ targeted Facebook members, 4000+ Twitter followers, and 1500+ more fans on Pinterest who are invested in her content and her business.
So, do you need an expert manning your audience development and nurturing? Absolutely. It’s a huge job that takes research, planning, trial and error, and a great deal of implementation. You may have to test people out and see if they can handle your needs, but when you find the right fit for your business, you’ve taken the first step towards maximizing your content and making sure your brand voice is heard.