As we draw to the close of another year, it’s good to pause for a minute to reflect on the past twelve months of business. With the internet growing in popularity for all kinds of businesses and the mobile market reaching new heights, it’s safe to say that 2016 cemented several current trends in website and marketing content concerning high-quality content–at least for the foreseeable future.

We saw sectors and industries fragment due to an influx of startups seeking to capitalize on markets with more and more niche demographics. This has only cemented the growing trends over the last half decade or so in online marketing towards high-quality, engaging, and original content.  Speak directly to targeted consumer bases is more urgent than ever. Businesses find themselves in the position of having to cut trough greater amounts of white noise that social media sites, competitors, and an onslaught  of targeted ads generates. Thus, speaking directly to your target audience in a meaningful way is and will continue to be the key aim of content development across websites, social media outlets, eStores, etc.

Cutting Through the Noise with Laser-Focused Content

A wonderful client and mentor I’ve had the pleasure to work with this past year really drove home this key point about content. I believe it will come even more into focus in 2017. What he said is this: you don’t have to try to appeal to everyone out there that will do business with you. Instead, you just need to appeal to the one particular “ideal” client with such clarity, focus, and persuasion that everyone else will notice what you are doing for them and say “I want in on that!”

To use a crude analogy, if online marketing was a shooting range, you don’t want to bring a gun that sprays a bunch of bullets hoping that some of them connect with the target. Instead, you want a laser-scoped sniper rifle that cuts through everything else and hits the specific target you’ve identified each and every time.

This, of course, is not the easiest thing to accomplish. It requires three things that I want to talk about for the rest of this post:

  1. Research
  2. An Understanding of your ideal customers pains and needs
  3. High-quality, original content

Step One: Get to Know Your Ideal Client

Now many people can list of some prima facie things about their target demographic. But that simply won’t be good enough for 2017. Instead, you need to know your target demographic inside and out. So start by researching everything you can learn about them. Without doing this, you can’t do #2 on the list. You’ll want to know things like:

  • Their fears about doing business with your industry or sector.
  • Their biggest needs that your business can meet. Keep in mind they themselves may not even be aware of these.
  • Their frustrations with doing business with your industry or sector.
  • Their dreams and desires. That is to say , who they are, what they want and why. This helps you identify those pains and needs that consumers themselves cannot always articulate.
  • You also need biographical information as well, including: age, where they live, what they do for a job, if they are single or typically families, etc.

Now I could go on, but much ink has been spilled over this elsewhere. If interested, you’d be best reading more elsewhere on researching your target demographic. For our discussion, I just wanted to get the ball rolling so you could start thinking in greater detail than you perhaps have thus far.

Step Two: Understand their Pains and Needs

The second step is to take what you’ve learned about your ideal customer and really think about. Take this to your circle of advisors if you have one, or to a mentor if you are just starting out. The goal here is try to get inside their head. By knowing so many details about them, you can start to ask questions like:

  • What would it take to change their mind about their biggest frustrations with your industry?
  • What is the root problem of their pain? Often, the cause isn’t the symptom. Companies that can help consumers better understand their problems stand a far better chance at winning their trust and eventually business. What’s more, tailor your offerings to what your ideal customers truly need, not just what they think they need.
  • How can you help them reach their dreams and desires in ways your industry or business has previously not addressed?

Once you get this, you’ll understand your ideal customer with greater clarity and be able to speak directly to them in highly-engaging ways.

Step Three: Create Original, High-Quality Content

The last step is putting it together. You need content that is brief, direct, engaging, and easy to comprehend–that’s just to get started. It must be high quality and highly original. Consumers in 2017 are used to ripoffs and internet spam. They are far savvier than they were 5-10 years ago. Simply spinning “borrowed” content is not enough. Your content needs to be:

  • Based on the answers to the questions you asked in step two. So this means it needs to be built from the ground up.
  • Written for mobile audiences. This doesn’t apply to all sectors, but if you are selling products to end consumers, this is a big one. More and more often, consumers shop online on the go. That is, while waiting to pick up their kids, on their lunch break, between flights, etc.
  • Written (for the most part) in active voice that is engaging and builds excitement as well as better focuses content to help keep it short and sweet.
  • Absolutely engaging with a clear call to action. You want content that gets people excited, so you can direct that excitement in a clear and trackable direction. So ask them to sign up on a mailing list, visit a website, or even “click here”. The key is that you can track it to see what kind of engagement you can achieve. This way you can track if people respond, which gives you an idea of how effective your content is. What’s more, you can make changes and track any response difference. Without this, you are literally flying blind.

2017 and Beyond…

There doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to expect these trends to change. This is especially true as more and more businesses begin to put into practice strategies like we discussed here. I recommend taking some time at the start of this new year to think about the things we talked about. Then, plan it out and put it to work to make 2017 as big a success as possible.

Remember, ClarkWrites is always here if you need help developing your content. We offer a variety of English content-development services designed to meet the specific needs of entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and professionals from around the world. Be sure to sign up on our mailing list to stay up to date on all specials, coupons, and exclusive offers from