Knowing your audience might seem like the be-all-and-end-all of content marketing, but in reality it is only half the battle. The other half is making sure you’re creating content that resonates.

Great content is personalized. It is informed by audience insights and is positioned based on two factors: the goals of the company and the needs and desires of the audience.

Here are just a few examples of how content can go to work for you:

  • Raising awareness: Letting your audience know your company exists, and what it does or what it sells
  • Encouraging discovery: Pinpointing your audiences pain points or problems and using content to show how your company solves them
  • Making comparisons: Showing your audience why you’re better than the competition
  • Nurturing a lead: Moving customers down the lead funnel using calls-to-action
  • Improving loyalty: Offering your audience rewards for their attention or purchases

Each of these goals is dependent on a number of factors. Does your audience already know about your brand? Are they aware that you can satisfy their needs? Are they comparing several brands before making a purchase? Are they nearly ready to make a purchase? Have they already purchased from you?

To answer these questions, it is helpful to think of your audience across multiple dimensions:

  • Their demographics and psychographics: Who is your customer? This can encompass factors like age, education and family status as well as their values and beliefs.
  • Their position on the buyer’s journey: How close are they to making a purchase?
  • Their platforms/social networks/websites of choice: Does your audience prefer mobile devices or desktop computers? Are they active on Twitter or Facebook?

These audience insights should fuel each and every piece of content you create, from in-stream ads to Facebook statuses to whitepapers.

A successful content marketing strategy will continually improve itself as time goes on. It will leverage audience insights to inform content, and then pull further insights from how the audience engages with this content. It is a continual cycle of improvement, based on real-time feedback.

Without personalized content, brands run the risk of devoting significant time and resources to a strategy without a payoff. They could create the most spectacular blog post, but if it doesn’t speak to their audience, it will be ignored. And the numbers back this up: 74 percent of online consumers get frustrated when they see content that doesn’t match their interests.

By accessing robust audience insights, brands not only improve their understanding of their target audience, but they can also make their content work harder – and smarter.