3 min read

Audience Building Content vs. Customer Generating Content

People who would likely never buy our services still email us their thoughts and feedback, they comment, like and share our posts on social and even recommend us to their friends and colleagues.
Audience Building Content vs. Customer Generating Content

Here's a question I had in the back of my mind for a long time now:

How is it that the people who frequently recommend and talk about our content are often not in the same group as our best customers?

People who would likely never buy our services still email us their thoughts and feedback, they comment, like and share our posts on social and even recommend us to their friends and colleagues.

But with our best customers it usually goes something like this: "Hey Sandro, I've been reading your newsletter and saw you on LinkedIn a lot. You talked about X, let's hop on a call and discuss our current X-related challenge".

With further inquiry I learn that they usually heard about us first from the people in the first group I mentioned. The raving never-customers.

Great. Traditional marketing advice tells us we must create a customer persona, find out what they like, where they hang out, what their challenges are and then go write about this stuff.

So what do we do?

There are Customers and then there are Amplifiers

So naturally, I started googling for solutions. And lo-and-behold a former podcast guest of mine, Rand Fishkin (check out podcast on Spotify) wrote an article about this very topic.

Quote from Rand:

Your content audience is and should differ from your product or sales audience. You’re not (and shouldn’t be) trying to sell everyone who consumes your content. You should, however, be trying to earn amplification and engagement from everyone who consumes your content.

In the article he shows that the people who buy from you (your potential customers) and the people who engage with and share your content (your potential amplifiers) are two separate groups (there are overlaps as seen above).

So the most successful content appeals to both potential amplifiers and potential customers. BUT and here comes the clue, if you have to choose, targeting the potential amplifiers will yield much more bang for your content buck than going for the customers themselves.


Quality Content is Not Enough

If there is one universal truth in every part of marketing-focused creation, it’s this:

Whatever you produce, no matter what, where, or how you’re promoting, it requires amplification. Yet, to the surprise of many first-time creators, quality and resonance are two very different things.

Search engines, social networks, content platforms, publications with influence, word of mouth—none of them work unless people engage and amplify.

Here’s the problem:

Most creators believe that high quality work is the key to amplification.

It. Is. Not.

A quality post, video, podcast, etc. might be more useful or enjoyable to consume, it might even earn you more business if it is consumed, but quality has only a minor influence on amplification behaviors. In fact, quality and amplification are barely correlated, because “this is quite good,” just doesn’t motivate people to share.

So Rand suggests:

If you want to earn the sharing behaviors that lead to your work reaching a greater audience than the one you’ve already got, you’ll need to answer this question:
Who Will Amplify This? And Why?

Who are the Amplifiers?

There are a bunch of examples for amplifiers that you can target with your content:

  • Journalists & media
  • Niche writers & bloggers
  • Podcasters & video channel creators
  • Social influencers & amplifiers
  • Conference & event organizers
  • Your super fans (the group of people who already read and share everything you post)

There is so much more to be said regarding this topic, and I’ll go deeper into it in future newsletters. For now the takeaway is this: We need to shift our thinking from focusing solely on customer-focused content towards amplifier focused content.

Because in today's content landscape high quality content just doesn't suffice anymore if you want to achieve a certain reach.