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by Anthony Pensabene on 7th August 2013
Anthony Pensabene explains how writing for different audiences, languages and markets can have drastic impacts on the way you research and create content.
“Put another shrimp on the barbie?”
What does that mean, and does it matter where I am hearing it? The above, is a slogan by the Australian Tourism Commission, uttered in a television ad by (none other than) Paul Hogan. Hogan urges newcomers to stop by and say g’day; he’ll ‘slip an extra shrimp on the barbie (barbeque?)’ for you.
What if I am not familiar with Hogan’s personality or the Aussie slogan? Like ‘whisper down the lane,’ a game with phrases clearly stated in the beginning, but by the time they run through the mouths and ears of others the original meaning is lost, taken out of context, or appears as utter, lyrical nonsense.
Let’s assume we have a client, offering outdoor activity and lodging in a mountain region such as the Smoky Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, or Rocky Mountains. I like helping the ‘Rockys’ of the world, so let’s we use the last mountain region for this project.
To begin composing related content, we think of concerns and desires of potential targeted markets; we need to prey on their anxieties. Our content should solve a concern, presenting interesting facts or solutions. For example, what kind of clothing (or gear?) does one need when venturing the outdoors, specifically the Rocky Mountain region of America?
There are ways to seek search queries based on the broad and exact topic. Ideal to help us know what’s on the minds of our target market.
Let’s travel to an institution that helps us understand speech patterns and conversations of our actual target market. Yelp is a great marketing tool for this.
Using Yelp I’ll go straight to reviews in the region and I can find 113 reviews for Rocky Mountain National Park. Let’s begin mining. I place a page’s worth of consumer feedback and discussion in a word-map tool, such as Wordle.
I’ve highlighted some ‘leads,’ giving ideas for further research and creating copy. For example, ‘driving trails’ is mentioned a number of times, along with ‘photo’ and ‘elk.’ Maybe I then begin thinking about the best photo opportunities or emulate a driving trail tour complemented with quality photos.
‘10 Amazing Things You’ll See While Driving Through the Rockies’ could be a possible topic.
However, we’re being a bit too assuming. What if we advised our client about potential tourism opportunities from foreigners? What if we wanted to sell an ‘anorak’ or ‘parka’ to someone in England, or refer to one in copy?
This page lists a number of communication ‘breakdowns,’ differences in meaning regarding American and British words/slangs. We notice an anorak could be a socially awkward person, not protective outdoor gear to a British person. Would this influence reader, blogger and SEO relations? As marketers, we aptly target markets, avoiding social faux pas. Sha lends an example of how referential differences could be awkward.
While a number of differences are comical in retrospect, once the differences are finally realized, we must account for language subtleties in targeted copy.
There is a considerable difference in the SERP’s supplied for “anorak” as compared to “parka” (about 5 million results compared to over 30 million).
More research is required so let’s use Ubbersuggest to get a bit more specific regarding leveraged terms and queries.
Let’s (specifically) target the UK in this instance. We can also play with some terms, mixing mountains, vacation, United States as well and seeing related UK search strings. One trend I see is targeting the eastern side of the country and mountains, rather than the Rocky Mountains in the west. (Perhaps associated to cost? When I think of mountains, I tend to think of Colorado, but I lived there, and I’m American. I can’t think like me, but rather like my potential UK market.)
The reason for my supposed bias is just an intuitive assumption. I’ll have to do more research on our intended market.
We do see the ‘vacation’ and ‘mountains’ request, coupled here with ‘beach.’ Maybe that’s the reason for more competition. You’ll have to travel a bit from the Rocky Mountains to get to an ocean, but there are plenty of bodies of water. Tons of stunning water images exist, possibly tempting travellers.
We can discuss how Lake Granby, west of the National Park in the mountain range is the site of the highest yacht anchorage on Earth. Secondly, Grand Lake is heralded for fishing and other activities. Also, visitors are searching for ‘water activity’, whatever that means?
Perhaps I can provide in-depth content related to the Upper Colorado River. Maybe potential visitors in England have no idea what they pass up, opting to vacation within the eastern mountains?
Maybe we can make the content a bit controversial, inciting emotion, pitting an east coast mountain vacation against a western one.
Stepping back for a second Rob Woods urges us to engage our market. We need to understand them better to provide better content and build an online audience, as the below slide from a recent talk of his shows.
Coincidentally, since this specific piece targets content strategy and brand-related writers, I remind readers to allow portions of your target market to review drafts and evolving ideas as Gaz Copeland writes and practices (below you can see his feedback to me on an article).
All of this information allows us to define content that resonates with our target market, hits their needs and speaks to them in a language that they understand. Let’s review the core factors to consider, along with some extra tips:
- Use search query tools to get more specific content ideas
- Use Yelp and other listening tools to read and analyze discussion
- Ensure content accounts for subtleties in language and intent of your targeted market
- This process won’t guarantee spectacular reception, but if you continue to refine, continuously analyze, and wisely engage the targeted market for best reception then you will get results
The views expressed in this post are those of the author so may not represent those of the Koozai team.