Why Talking to the Whole World is a Terrible Content Marketing Strategy

(And What To Do Instead)

Imagine this scenario…

You’re riding on the subway of some big, glistening city. Let’s say that, for whatever reason, today you’re wearing a hat and a beautiful watch. You stare out the window listlessly as the cityscape goes by in all its meandering, concrete-toned glory…

The subway lurches to a stop – it’s time for you to get off. Just as you’re disembarking, you hear someone in the crowd yell out “Hey!”

Some of us would intently scan the crowd to identify who said that and why – but given that a lot of people are saying a lot of things in the busy city environment, a lot of us would just continue on our way without a moment’s glance.

Being specific in your content marketing

But what if someone said, “Hey, you with the hat and watch!”

Boom. That’d grab your attention like a metaphorical piece of dynamite popping off in your mind.

Why would that capture your attention much more efficiently than just a simple “Hey”?

Because deep down, most humans are intrinsically self-interested. Which means we respond more readily when someone is talking to us specifically, instead of to a broad range of people.

Now, what does this all have to do with the title of this piece – and inbound content marketing in general?

As it so happens, there are a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs out there who believe it’s a sound marketing strategy to “speak to the whole world” – talking to everyone possible in their marketing media, through words, graphics, call-to-action buttons, email and inbound marketing content, and so on.

But, bluntly speaking, this kind of marketing perspective should be sliced away from the mind of anyone looking to support their business with a solid content marketing strategy.  This idea of “speaking to the whole world” instead of a narrow target audience is self-defeating because it ultimately means one thing: you’re burning up money. You’re wasting time. And your business is losing out on real growth.

Here’s why it is not a good idea to talk to everyone, instead of a clear target audience:

If you’re purchasing media space, failing to market only to your exact customer avatar means that you’re losing money. Ads and marketing collateral that speak to a particular group are always more effective than marketing that is more scattershot in its approach.

Even if you’re not purchasing media space, but instead are relying on inbound marketing strategies, you’re still losing money because your actual customer avatar won’t respond to your marketing as positively and strongly. So, once again, cash is going out the door instead of into your wallet (yikes!).

Not everyone in the world is going to share your values and attitude and tone and voice; so speaking to everyone constraints you such that you are no longer letting your X-factor shine through the fog and haze of a busy world. The solution? Speak to your ideal customer avatar!

So what’s the best approach to your marketing?

Speak to your ideal customer avatar (otherwise known as a “buyer persona”). Your ideal customer avatar, on a fundamental level, represents the characteristics, motivations, and goals of the core group of people most likely to buy from you. Here’s how one marketing report described their customer avatar:

How do you identify your ideal customer profile?

Begin by asking yourself exhaustive questions about your company’s customers and the people most likely to want or need your services and products. Here are some to get you started:

  • What does your buyer persona do? For fun? For work? What does their day-to-day look like? What about weekends?
  • Any particular age range?
  • How much do they make a year?
  • What are their top three daily frustrations?
  • Where is there a gap in their needs/wants? How soon would they like to close this gap? Example: someone who depends on their car for commuting will need their car fixed ASAP, but someone who’s looking to boost their income by 20% next year has a little more time to put plans in place.
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What are significant trends occurring in their lives? (Marriage, kids, divorce, selling their company, feeling burned out, etc.)
  • What do they, in their heart of hearts, desire most?
  • Do they have their own lingo that distinguishes them from other people?
  • Why should they be interested in your company/you?

By answering questions like these and building your buyer persona, you can be super specific in your marketing and branding – and this is especially important for your inbound marketing and overall content marketing approaches.

You’ve got to push out content that fits snugly within your buyer persona, instead of content that talks to everyone. Do that, and your business will start seeing greater levels of success.


Rúna Magnúsdóttir, CEO & Founder The X-Factor Digital Marketing Machine

Rúna Magnúsdóttir, CEO & Founder The X-Factor Digital Marketing Machine

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