How to use content marketing to reach out to your target audience

This post is based on a webinar presentation by Margarita Loktionova, Content Marketing Lead at SEMrush.

Content marketing is a key piece of any business strategy, no matter what industry it’s in or who its target audience is.

In a recent study, SEMrush analyzed over 500,000 blog posts and 200,000 tweets, along with 8,000 niche articles. This content came from 40 countries across the globe.

The results showed that content marketing is indeed a valuable investment: 97% of marketers say content is a key part of their overall marketing strategy, and 91% saw success from it in 2021. But it takes effort to effectively capitalize on content.

Let’s step back for a minute. Why even bother with content marketing?

Many people are wondering this: in fact, twenty two percent more people searched for the question “What is content marketing?” last year than in 2020 -- with 14,800 average monthly searches per month, the study found.

According to the study, 42% of companies are just beginning to incorporate content into their marketing plans and may have some questions about how to do that effectively.

For companies that succeeded with their content, key factors included:

  • having a documented content marketing strategy
  • increasing paid content promotion budget
  • growing their marketing teams
  • conducting content audits at least twice per year

Bottom line? More effort and investment in content pays off, but it requires a thoughtful approach.

What did companies do to succeed in content?

3 Key Ways to Invest in Content Marketing

Business owners often hear about the power of great content, but what exactly does that mean?

Great content is more than pretty product photos.

High-quality content drives people to your social channels and website, encourages purchases, and creates an ongoing customer relationship, forming a solid community of people who trust and care about your brand.

That’s why investing in content is so important.

Content marketing success factors and investment areas

Here are the top three ways to invest in content:

  • Build a strong social media community.
    A solid community can help you tell your brand’s story. Once you’ve established your brand’s community, user-generated content can be incredibly helpful in amplifying your messaging in an authentic way that builds trust.
  • Improve your content’s quality..
    The internet is filled with low-quality content. By writing from an expert point-of-view and providing specific examples in the text, your content will stand out and capture audiences’ attention and trust.
  • Promote your content.
    Social media is your friend, but figuring out the right channels is important. You don’t have to be everywhere, but you need to know where your audience will most likely find your content.

Because every brand is striving for great content, creating personalized content that suits your specific audience is the key to driving engagement.

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Although 77% of marketers say blogging boosts their brand, the study found, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to successful content. First, figure out what your customers want and need so you can provide original content that has real value to them.

How to Find your Target Audience

You can’t create content that drives results until you know who you’re talking to. You don’t want to play a guessing game: invest your resources and efforts in content that’s specific and relevant to your target audience. This builds trust around your brand to help it grow stronger and faster.

To know your target audience, start by creating content personas, researching keywords and topics that your competitors cover, and creating a content plan.

  1. Create a content persona
    To establish a content persona, you might consider audience research via interviews, surveys, or focus groups. That way, you’re rooting your efforts in real data from real people. These methods create a space for customers to openly discuss any of their challenges and pain points.

From there, you can identify trends to inform your content and enhance your product or service offerings. Doing this research amongst various segments and targeted regions will help provide insights on what the people might be interested in.

Your goal is to create content that addresses customers’ actual issues and concerns. Specific, personalized content builds value and keeps customers coming back for more.

How to create a content buyer persona

2. Research topics and keywords
Keyword research should fuel your content strategy, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Start by defining the main topic that addresses your audience’s needs. Tools like SEMrush can then help you distill the topic into relevant keywords to use throughout your content. The goal is high-quality, user-friendly content with the keywords naturally infused throughout it.

For example, a fashion brand launching a new line for teens would search for “teenage fashion” to start. They would then see a list of subtopics related to that theme. After that, they can further discover related search terms and questions people are asking about each subtopic. Additionally, industry publications, forums, and social media groups can help you find trending topics.

3. Analyze competitors
Next, you should research your competitors, both direct and indirect. Non-competitors, including media outlets, aiming to reach the same audience can also help you know your audience better.

Rather than just reading their websites, you can follow SEMrush’s competitive content analysis guide. Additionally, you can use these six tools in SEMrush to compare competitors for both organic and paid keyword rankings, backlinks, and more. These tools can help you better understand competitors’ website traffic and audiences in order to help inform your own content plans.

4. Create a content plan
Now it's time to integrate what you’ve learned about your audience, competitors, and keywords  into action.

You’ll want to consider topics, keywords, content formats, success metrics, and promotion tactics for your content. Thinking ahead will help you in the long run.

Key tips for content success

  • Set specific goals and methods for tracking your content’s performance.
  • Involve everyone in the content production process, from designers to copywriters. Make sure they understand the new insights you’ve gathered before content is created.
  • Review your existing content to see if you can update it to match the new insights you’ve found.
  • Focus on thought leadership articles first because they help build trust and awareness.
  • Experiment with different content formats until you find what resonates best.
  • Collaborate with media platforms and influencers to amplify your content.
  • Continue to track and review analytics to see what content resonates best for your audience. Utilize tracking tools such as campaign codes and UTMs.

Case Studies

Before diving into your own content plans, it can help to research what other companies are doing and how it’s serving their specific audience.

On the B2B side, workflow platform approaches its content smartly and clearly.

The company offers different content for each type of team, as well as each role within a team. Users select the content that meets their personal needs so they aren’t bogged down with options.

Similarly, financial data company Refinitiv divides its content — blogs, videos, reports, and more — into hubs so users know exactly where to go based on their industry vertical or role.

A positive user experience is important for your customers, of course, but Google also deems user-friendly websites as an authority, which helps them rank higher in search results.


On the B2C side, personal care and beauty retailer Sephora uses various online communities within its website to connect users quickly to relevant topics. For example, parents seeking acne treatments for their teens have a specific community to connect and share tips, feedback, and information.


The Takeaway

You have to meet your audience where they are and strive to serve their specific needs through your content. To do that, you have to understand them as much as you can to create personalized content that resonates with them. This helps build a trusting community of customers who will help your business grow and thrive.

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