In order to have a successful content marketing strategy, you need to tell a story that resonates with your audience. That means that you need to know your audience really well. If you don’t know who your audience is, what they’re passionate about or their pain points, your content won’t provide value to them.

If you’re regularly producing marketing content and are experiencing any of these five challenges, you may not know your audience as well as you think you do.

1. Crickets–No Response to Your Social Media Posts

A nightmare scenario for any communicator is crickets—having such a small amount of interaction from your audience that all you hear are the crickets in the dark, lonely night. This is especially true when it comes to social media posts.

You may have social media followers who like your organization enough to keep them from unfollowing you. But if they find your content only slightly interesting or less than relevant to them personally, they won’t ever react to it or share it. If you know your audience well, you have a better chance of anyone piece of social media content going viral. 

Sometimes, an image catches people’s attention, but the story doesn’t. When that’s the case, you may be using effective strategies, but your inadequate knowledge about your audience keeps holding you back.

So if you’re struggling to get social media engagement, dive into the analytical information that social media platforms provide to see what insight you can gain about your audience demographics. You may be surprised about who your audience actually is.

2. Low Click-Through and Open Rates on Your Emails

Just about everyone in your audience is inundated with marketing emails every day. So if your subject lines and content don’t immediately connect with your customers, they aren’t going to open your emails or click through to your website.

If your email subject lines aren’t talking to your audience’s specific problems and challenges, they’ll get lost in the noise. Even more importantly, if your email content isn’t both story-driven and focused on the person reading the email, they won’t take a next step and will be less likely to open the next email. If this is happening to you, it’s a sign that you don’t know your audience very well. 

The key to content marketing is creating a strong connection with every member of your audience, those who could be potential clients and customers. If you aren’t talking to each person as if you were having a one-on-one conversation with them, they won’t listen. 

3. Your Material Isn’t Shared on Social Media or via Your Website

People share content when it’s valuable to them. Maybe it made them laugh, so they want to pass along the smiles to someone else. Or perhaps it was insightful about a topic they care about, and they want to share what they’ve learned. Maybe a story you told was poignant, and they know it will impact others if they share it. 

If people are sharing your content, it’s because they feel like you “get them.” And if your material isn’t being shared, it’s a sign that you don’t know your audience. You might not be speaking their language, using the words and terms they’re familiar with, or addressing the things that they regularly think about. 

Your website content should focus on what problem your organization solves. People don’t want to hear about your products and services. They want to know whether you can improve their lives. And being able to improve their lives requires knowing what’s wrong with their lives in the first place. For that, you need to know your audience.

4. Low or No Website Hits–No Clicks

Publishing blog posts that are so broad or general that they don’t really solve any problems or answer any meaningful questions will never get you ranked on Google. Likewise, publishing videos or podcasts that don’t tackle a specific question or challenge won’t gain you an audience. When you try to speak to everybody, nobody ends up listening. 

For content to be picked up by the search engines and placed before the people who are looking for the kinds of product or services your organization provides, you need to know what keywords your audience is searching for. By failing to target those keywords through the content you provide, you show that you don’t know your audience. 

If you do know your audience, you’ll have a good idea of the types of terms or phrases they’re searching for on a regular basis. So, if you aren’t getting hits on your website, your keywords might not be as relevant to your audience as you think.

5. No Downloads of the Materials You Are Providing

Lead magnets are vital to a successful content marketing strategy. So you should invest in creating a highly sought-after downloadable resource.

But if no one is willing to give you their contact information in exchange for your resource, it’s probably because it isn’t relevant enough to them. In order for your resource to be compelling enough to download, it needs to answer the burning questions your audience has. If it doesn’t speak to those issues, most people will be unwilling to surrender their email address in exchange for it.

On the other hand, if your downloadable resource speaks compellingly to the specific needs of your audience, they will gladly give you their email address and actually look forward to hearing from you with other marketing messages.

So, how strong is the story you’re telling on your landing page? It needs to use words and phrases that cause your audience to say, “I absolutely need this resource!” You’ll only be able to achieve that if you know your audience really well. 

If you have experienced any of these problems with your content marketing, it’s an indication that you don’t know your audience well enough to create messaging that connects with them. If that’s you, don’t give up. Tweak your messaging. Do research to see what insights you can gain about your audience. Keep experimenting. Get to know your audience better.