Paid reach can’t make poor content rich, although strong content can make your paid boosting worth more. This might seem obvious, but is far from easy to apply in most of the cases. To create strong content you have to identify your target audience very clear and understand their needs first or first need and how you can add value to that need.

Dashboards
It doesn’t need any explanation that one of the rising markets in the digital marketing world is listening tools and software. Basically when you connect (all) your platforms to these monitoring engines you are able to create dashboards that enable you to understand and gain insight of the engagement around your brand, different topics or campaigns you are running or about to run.

[stag_video src=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bur46YtCwdE”]

VIDEO on adding value: ‘People come to you for an outcome, not for more information.

The better you understand your audience the more spot on you can create content, tap into conversations or adapt to the routine of the people you want to reach. When guessing of needs becomes listening to needs and act upon those findings you can expect that the organic reach (and engagement) will grow. This will benefit your mission and the money you invest in paid reach.

Listening in a perfect world starts before you equip your mission.

Adding value
A dollar spent on content that has more organic value and will also add more value to your online presence than a boosting dollar that is spent on content with low organic value. Probably it is true that the better you listen to your audience first, less money needs to be invested in paid reach. To a point that is adding no value at all. Especially for low budget companies is listening key as you might understand.

Listening
I can imagine that especially for this group it is hard to use social listening tools like the engines I suggested, since they are most of the time not free of charge to use. But there are more ways of listening to your audience. Three ways of doing that:

    1. Focus groups: bring together a group of people that represent your target audience or persona the best. Talk with them. Not for them to understand you, but for you to understand them. By the way, this can perfectly done through an hidden Facebook group for instance, although listening in a perfect world starts before you equip your mission. 
    2. Daily interaction: pay attention to what people share in their day to day interaction with you and try to understand why they interact the way they interact. Human touch is essential in this. Identity key persons in these day-to-day interactions and listen carefully to them. 
    3. Analyse data that is provided by the different platforms and can give insight. Try to come up with a list of indicators that will help you to understand what has impact (see blog combine measurements). Or.. When that is hard to do from scratch, try to question yourself or your team to voice out what a metric is telling you exactly and what don’t.


Understand

There is a principle that applies to effective companies and ministries. It says: try to understand first before being understood. You can’t understand first, unless you are willing to listen. When you have listened well the challenge is to identify key findings where you can add value to the life of the people you want to reach.

Image Listen by Fe Ilya on flickr.com (common creative)