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3 Ways to Know Your Audience: Hire Them, Talk to Them, or Tease Them

This week, we’re admiring Nerf for using TikTok to hire a new executive – whose only job is TikTok. We’re scratching our head over a newly released survey of writers that reveals a challenge with an obvious solution. And we’re having fun with a Marketing Gibberish Generator that uses (gentle) teasing as a content marketing tactic.

Nerf brings TikTok to the C-suite

Hasbro’s Nerf brand hired its first CTO –  that’s chief TikTok officer. Applicants for the real (though temporary) job didn’t submit resumes or applications. Instead, Hasbro asked those interested in the position to post a “Nerf-related TikTok video” with the hashtag #NerfApplication. The company received more than 1,000 video applications last month and hired Sophie Jamison (Sophie Lightning on social media) for the position.

Here’s one of Sophie’s audition videos:

@nerfers101Decided to simply explain why I love Nerf for my last application video 🙂 ##Nerf ##fyp ##viral ##NerfApplication @nerf♬ Up Beat (Married Life) – Kenyi

Nerf, known for its “blasters” (toy guns that shoot foam darts) and other foam toys, wants to cash in on Sophie’s expertise. Her Nerfers101 TikTok account has over 1.8 million followers. This week, Nerf’s account had around 105,000.

Sophie will earn up to $10,000 a month for up to three months. Her job? Create content, help develop strategy, and set the tone for Nerf’s TikTok presence, according to The Toy Book.

WHY IT MATTERS: Yes, Nerf’s hiring process could be viewed as a marketing stunt. But it also offers a useful lesson for content marketers. When your audience is on a platform that’s out of your team’s comfort zone, get creative. Bring in people who have already used the platform to amass a following that aligns with your brand. Pay them a fee and soak in as much of their knowledge as you can. Educate them on your business and marketing goals, then ask how they see the platform helping you achieve those. Don’t set limits – let them share as much out-of-the-business-box thinking as they want. And work together to figure out how to bring authenticity to the channel in the short and long term. Just don’t forget to think about how to bring that audience from the rented platform to one of your owned channels.

When your audience loves a platform that’s out of your comfort zone, get creative. @Hasbro brand #Nerf found its chief @tiktok_us officer ­through #TikTok video applications via @KMoutsos @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

“Know your audience” is easier said than done

Knowing what their audience wants to read is a challenge for almost four in 10 business communicators. That finding came in this week’s release on the 2021 State of Writing study from Typeset and Mantis Research, sent to us by Typeset’s Sarah Mitchell.

Part of the challenge comes in the way communicators try to figure out what their audience wants. Two-thirds look at analytics, while 60% monitor social media. Only half talk to their brand’s frontline contacts and even fewer actually engage directly with the audience.

WHY IT MATTERS: The State of Writing report tackles a lot of topics. But the findings around writing challenges and audience understanding should flash a warning light for content marketers. The lesson?

“Instead of relying on third-party sources, go straight to the source,” says Michele Linn of Mantis Research. When you listen and interact directly with your audience, developing content that resonates with them will be easier to create. After all, your audience’s input is usually more vivid than a bunch of content performance or search statistics.

Know your audience. That’s much easier to do when you talk to them. Too few #content pros do, says new #research from @TypesetContent and @MantisResearch via @SarahMitchellOz @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

Get down the lingo

Forget buzzword bingo – there’s a new way to poke gentle fun at our profession. CMI’s Stephanie Stahl spotted The Marketing Gibberish Generator in a recent Marketing Brew email.

When we tapped the generator’s “Hit Me” button on a recent visit, here’s what appeared:

Meme robust hashtag. Sticky content emerging viral disrupt. Snackable content alignment long-tail market share mobile ready brand awareness leverage. Proprietary context engagement platform dashboard millennials social influencer. Download council wheelhouse leading the pack curated taste makers tweens. Seamless emerging customer engagement millennials. Tablet responsive reaching out meme hackathon pivot. Emerging verticals conversation marketing click bait. Goals for engagement conversions phablet holistic inbound.

Each tap on the button elicits a lengthy list of never-ending marketing and business jargon. The generator’s creator, Column Five, offers this advice on how to use the tool: “Want to fit in with those rockstar-ninja-marketing gurus? Use this gibberish generator to pretend you know WTF you’re talking about. (And if you want some marketing help from actual pros, holler at us.)”

Click the Twitter icon on the page and you’ll get this pre-written Tweet: “This marketing gibberish generator replaces ‘lorem ipsum’ with buzzwords. via @columnfive”

WHY IT MATTERS: Sure, you can use the generator to find lingo to throw around to try to impress. But you also can use it as an opportunity to remove those words from your vocabulary.

It’s also a great content marketing tool for the Column Five agency. Having fun with something everyone in their potential customer base encounters is an intriguing way to engage them.

The Marketing Gibberish Generator is smart #ContentMarketing – and a way for @columnfive to have fun with its potential customers (by poking a little fun), via @EditorStahl and @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute