Traditional paid marketing is on a downward trend as consumers have the ability to select what they see, ignore banners and increasingly implement technology to block ads. Meanwhile content marketing – combining high quality content with a strong creative strategy – is on the rise. Not surprising since studies show that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many sales leads. (Source: DemandMetric).

Just like a Google mantra, it’s all about providing relevant content that consumers find valuable – and aligning your brand to that content. That way you’ll communicate with your target market by being valuable to them and providing content they love – your brand will look good and you’ll be rewarded with business and loyalty.

If you want to survive in 2016 and beyond, your content will need… to be better-researched, better-written, and more valuable to your audience.
-Jayson DeMers Inc.

So what does it take to create content that really hits the mark?

Good content starts with a deep understanding of your customer, what they’re into, how they feel and their perceptions of your brand. If you don’t have that, its nigh on impossible to create campaigns that will make your target market sit up, and say, ‘it’s like they read my mind!’

By understanding their key pain points and desires and showing up with your content in a way that speaks to that, you’ll demonstrate an interest in your customers, engender trust, and create healthy relationships and further engagement – from your website, to blogs, to social media.

Here’s what to focus on when undertaking research designed to generate great content:

  1. Focus on customer engagement research for more than just data and behaviour measures. Customer engagement will uncover the ‘why’ and delve into people’s rationale, their underlying motives, values and perceptions. Use this intelligence to form a deep understanding of your customers or potential customers.
  2. Find out about their perceptions of your brand or product – what they like, what they don’t, and what your brand or product actually means to customers. If it’s done right, you’ll get their thoughts and feelings about your product reflected back to you in their own words. Felicia Sphar, Copywriter and Founder of Instantly Irresistible, says she uses surveys to understand how her customers feel about a product, and often uses their exact wording in her copy:Hardly anyone will tell you this, but writing great copy is all about stealing. Literally, stealing the words from your customers’ mouths… which is why asking survey questions is so important. One of my favorites to ask that performs consistently well is: “If you had this information, what would it allow you to do? How would you feel?” I love to ask this question via email because people really open up, have time to think through their answers, and you’ll find a lot of ‘gold nuggets’ for your copy. This is how you get the ‘painted picture’ of what your product actually means to someone––as it’s never about the product itself. You have to uncover what’s ‘under the rug’ in order to move people with any copy you write––and then USE that exact language. Thankfully, there are no ‘copy police’ that get you for stealing. You’re only rewarded in sales.
  3. Consider using different techniques to get different types of consumer insight, such as:
    • Observational research to see/observe how your customers engage with content and/or your services and products
    • Discussions and interviews online or face to face
    • Video diaries, selfies, voice recording snippets using their smart phone – an easy and direct way for customers to share what’s on their mind right now (e.g. as they experience your brand offering)
    • Good old survey research – it could be as simple as two quick questions and can reveal a lot. Make it short and snappy – the days of longer = better are long gone.
  4. Measure characteristics – which aspects of your brand or offering stand out most, to a particular demographic or target group. This will help you to get really clear on the type of customer you want to attract based on a good knowledge of your existing ‘ideal customer’ type or buyer persona.
  5. Lastly, once you’ve created your content, you need to monitor and evaluate. Measure the impact of your content on their offline behaviour, so you can tweak what’s not working, focus on what is and make your content more and more irresistible over time.

To find out more about customer engagement research, visit