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How to Understand Your Audience Better with Rand Fishkin

How to Understand Your Audience Better with Rand Fishkin

What steps do you take to really understand your audience?

A struggle that a lot of businesses have is not truly understanding who they are trying to reach – What do they talk about? Where do they hang out online? What do they watch or listen to? What do they search for?

This is a huge pain point for content creators. How do you create content that both aligns with your business and gets in front of the right people?

Sure, there are analytics and data tools out there but they often provide narrow, limited audience insights.

Former CEO of Moz, Rand Fishkin, set out to create a tool for content creators that solves this problem.

Rand is now the CEO and Co-Founder of SparkToro. He joined me to discuss the benefits of getting in front of the right people and understanding your audience better.

Hit play to listen to the full interview with Rand…

Check out the highlights in this video…

Or read on to learn more…

How SparkToro helps you understand your audience

Rand first started to see the gap between the data that businesses provide and what their ideal clients were actually searching for when he worked in the SEO space.

A little bit of background...in 2004 Rand dropped out of school to Co-Found Moz, an SEO software and data solution. But he saw this same problem crop up time and time again.

People would come to Moz looking to both improve their SEO and better understand what their audience was looking for. After all, how can you optimize your content, if you don’t know what your audience is searching for?

Fast forward to 2018, Rand left Moz and co-founded SparkToro, a software tool to help business owners and content creators discover where their audience is online and what they’re looking at.

How does this information help you understand your audience?

For content creators, a tool that tells you what your audience reads, watches, listens to, and follows, gives you unbelievable insight into the content they actually want to consume and will pay attention to.

You may already have a good profile of your audience, and you know your product/service inside-out, but this might not be enough to create content that gets in front of the right people at the right time. SparkToro helps you eliminate any guesswork when bridging this gap and finding the sweet spot where these two things truly align.

How to understand your audience

I was really interested in finding out how content creators and business owners can use SparkToro to their advantage. Rand says that there are two main use cases for content creators right now.

1. Identifying collaboration/guest opportunities: If you have a podcast or video show, you can use SparkToro to find guests within your niche. It allows you to see who your audience is already paying attention to. If 60% of your audience follows the same person on social media, they probably want to hear more from them. Getting them as a guest on your show is a sure-fire way to pique your audience’s interest. If you don’t have a podcast or video show, think about running hosting a webinar and inviting them on, inviting them to co-create content with you, hosting a virtual event... there are lots of ways to collaborate.

2. Identifying content topics: SparkToro provides information on what your audience is searching for, for example, the hashtags that they use. When people have already shown an active interest in something, they’re primed to hear more about it. This can give you guidance on what subjects you should be talking about in your content.

Rand also pointed out that whilst he never intended SparkToro as an advertising tool, many users are also using these insights to inform their advertising strategies. It’s basically a direct shortcut to targeting your audience!

The power (and ROI) of podcasts

I asked Rand about his marketing strategy for SparkToro - launching during a pandemic obviously wasn’t his decision but such is life. It was interesting to hear how important podcasts have been for Rand, interestingly not by having his own podcast.

Rand has frequented many a podcast as a guest, and he says that this has been his main marketing strategy for SparkToro. As a podcaster myself, I wanted to find out why he’d specifically chosen this route, as opposed to more traditional paid advertising.

His response was, “the ROI is just unbeatable”.

Rand believes that due to the limited visibility into podcast data (aka what people are listening to, and how many people are listening to it), advertising or even simply appearing on a podcast has an extremely high ROI compared to the amount of money spent on it.

This is because podcasts are a fantastic way of building a bond with an audience. Typically, podcast listeners are diligent, don’t skip adverts if it’s suitable to the audience, and pay attention to the speaker. They often hang on every word which is rare in most other forms of content! (We skim read, we fast forward videos, but podcast listeners are more loyal).

So even if you have a small podcast audience, with a few hundred people tuning in to every show, you can have a lot of influence over them.

Simply put, podcasts are a low-risk, high-reward content type. Even just being a guest on a show can reap huge rewards for your business.

Rand pointed out, as a podcast guest, he often gets lots of content to share with his audience – major brownie points if the podcast repurposes their content (if you have a podcast, and you don’t repurpose it, we are here to help!).

“When I'm on a podcast, the host may produce a videogram or an audiogram. That becomes great content to share out, across my social channels, or to put on our website. I've had positive reactions and people playing with and going and trying out SparkToro just from those videograms – it's such great repurposing of content.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself Rand!

The best kind of marketing, according to Rand

Rand sees the sharing of helpful snippets like video and audiograms, from natural and engaging conversations, as the best type of content marketing. Why? Because it doesn’t feel like marketing.

Your audience doesn’t feel like it’s being marketed to if it’s just listening to a great conversation. Especially if they’re picking up tips and advice along the way.

“If you make something good, marketing should feel like you're just helping people.”

How do you make something good? Well, that’s subjective. What you have to first do is find out what your audience considers “good” or at least, worthy of their attention.

Thankfully, that’s what SparkToro is for!

To learn more about SparkToro, visit the website or blog.

To hear more from Rand, scroll to the top of this post and hit play on the podcast. There’s lots more from him in the episode! You can also follow him on Twitter.

If you’re a podcaster or content creator looking for help turning your content into shareable pieces, Content 10x can help. Our end-to-end repurposing services transform your content into platform-perfect formats that maximize your reach. Find out more by checking out our services.


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