Personalization of Content involves aligning the planning, creation, and placement of content with the specific interests, contexts, beliefs, and/or behaviours that are relevant and true characteristics of targeted audiences.
The importance of personalizing content stems from the steep competition your content faces for the finite attention of your audience.
Virtually every person on the planet has the entire volume of content ever created, or that ever will be created, at their fingertips at every moment of every day.
The only reason why they’ll ever give one care about you and your content is if it truly resonates with them. The stronger that resonance, the more impact it will have. The more impact it has, the greater the opportunity you have to earn their attention and play a meaningful role in their decision making process toward loving your brand (we sometimes call this the customer journey).
A nice thing about the theory behind personalization of content, is that it is dead simple to test. Simply answer this question for yourself:
When is the last time you paid any positive attention to a piece of content that you truly did not care about?
Ridiculous, right?!?! Why would you ever waste your time with content you don’t care about?
And that, right there, is exactly the point. You never would, and nor would your targeted audiences.
In spite of personalization making so much intuitive sense, there are many barriers that keep marketers, advertisers, and organizational leadership from diving in head first.
A Demand Metric study lists the top reasons that organizations do not personalize content:
59% cite not having the right technology
59% cite not having adequate bandwidth or resources
53% cite not having the needed data
28% cite it as being too difficult
14% cite not understanding the benefits
This list actually aligns closely with our anecdotal experience, so let’s explore how to overcome each of these barriers:
OVERCOMING TECHNOLOGICAL LIMITATIONS
Technology can assist with the personalization of content, primarily in two ways: 1) automating the creation of personalized content, and 2) positioning that content in front of targeted audience segments.
While tech can certainly help in these areas, you have options;
The creation of personalized content can be accomplished manually, which is actually how most companies personalize content.
The dissemination of personalized content to targeted audiences can be accomplished by anybody on most major social media networks by utilizing their ad serving tools and targeting capabilities.
OVERCOMING LIMITED BANDWIDTH OR RESOURCES
Content can be personalized in a variety of ways, each with a high degree of variability as it relates to required bandwidth and resources.
Attributes of high bandwidth/resource personalization:
- New assets
- Owned or licensed technology
- Large number of specific audiences
- Custom audiences
- Collection of new audience data
Attributes of low bandwidth/resource personalization:
- Repurposed assets
- 3rd party free/inexpensive tools (e.g. paid social)
- Limited number of specific audiences
- Broad audiences
- Lookalike audiences
- Utilization of existing audience data
Ensure content personalization is executable by aligning chosen personalization activities with what is feasible from a bandwidth and resourcing standpoint for your organization. Regardless of your investment, be sure to have a measurement plan in place so that you can prove effectiveness, identify opportunities for optimization, and build cases for potential future investment.
OVERCOMING A LACK OF DATA
A lack of data is more of a general marketing issue than one that is specific to personalizing content.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, social is a great place to commence your plan to personalize content as it gives you the tools required to target specific audiences, test personalized content, and measure performance all from within a single, relatively easy to use tool.
Things worth doing, are worth doing (profound, I know). Please don’t let ‘difficulty’ be an excuse. Get your hustle on!
OVERCOMING A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING THE BENEFITS
Content marketers that personalize content are more than 2X more likely to report that their content marketing efforts are effective, and 3X more likely to report that their efforts are very effective, versus those content marketers that do not personalize their content (source).
Further to this, personalizing content just makes sense intuitively, right?
The benefits are clear; personalizing content will increase your opportunity to experience content marketing success.
If you’re still not convinced, take the plunge with a test and learn initiative. See for yourself what is possible, and what the benefits are for your organization.
It is important to remember that the personalization of content is not an all or nothing endeavour.
There are many options available to personalize content while not breaking the bank or jeopardizing proven elements of your broader marketing plan.
Start small but smart; consider a test and learn approach, limiting personalization to achieving specific goals or objectives, or focusing personalization on impacting a specific phases of the customer journey.
Does your organization create personalized content?
If so, have you found it to be successful?
Do you have any tips to share with others looking to get started?
It would be great to hear from you in the comments.
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