We talk a lot about audience-focused content here at Scribewise.

If you’re writing content that focuses keenly on your products or what your company offers compared to your competitors, you’re fighting an uphill battle to get potential customers interested in what you’ve got to sell.

Homing in on the wants and needs of the people who will consume your products is essential to connecting with them, starting a relationship, and beginning to build trust.

You might (we hope!) agree with this, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. It begins with keeping up with customers’ ever-changing wants and needs, which can be difficult in any industry. Here are some ways to get to know your audience.

Chat Up Your Sales Team and Product Experts

Your sales team and the folks creating your products are working the front lines every day, talking to prospective customers and fine-tuning the products and/or services you offer. These people should be able to help you understand buyers to develop accurate personas.

But this knowledge transfer isn’t a one-time thing. Keep in close contact with your sales and product teams to keep learning about product changes or new customer feedback. Schedule quarterly meetings to discuss major product updates and create a process for reviewing customer feedback your sales team brings back. This can inform your content strategy and benefit your entire marketing team.

Develop Customer Surveys

When people feel strongly about a product or an experience, they usually have no problem telling you, especially on the Internet (hello, Yelp!).

To gather customer feedback about your actual products or your content marketing efforts, just ask. You might be surprised what you can gain.

There are many different ways to survey your customers and prospects these days, from detailed, multi-question surveys using SurveyMonkey or the like, to short, one-question surveys on your site. You can even ask site visitors if they found content on your site useful at the bottom of each page or blog post, a la Google.

Take the time to respond to any major issues directly. Use the rest of the data to shape your content strategy and your larger marketing initiatives.

Leverage Social Media

Behold the power of Twitter.

Social media is already a major part of your content strategy. Whether you’re selling software-as-a-service or shoes and bags, you should monitor social channels to see what your customers and prospects are saying about your brand and products as well as your competitors.

Gathering this information can help you make informed decisions and determine what pain points you audience has. Then, you can easily develop topics focused around you audience’s needs.

Consult Your Personas

Concrete feedback from surveys and social posts, and intel from your sales team, can guide your strategy, but sometimes it’s just not available. One final way to use your audience to your advantage is to consider your audience personas before fleshing out an idea.

Audience personas, which could include attributes of real and ideal clients, can keep you on track when you’re brainstorming topics or setting goals. Ask yourself what “ideal client X” would think of your idea. Would it help them solve a problem? If the answer is a swift “no,” you might need to change directions. This type of exercise helps you maintain focus throughout the stages of content development.

Keeping your strategy on track while focusing on your audience can seem like a daunting task, but by checking in with your customers and prospects on a regular basis, you can more easily help them solve problems.