Maybe I’m the only one, but let a Backstreet Boys (BSB) song come on the radio, and suddenly, I’m thrown back to one of the greatest times of my life—the early 2000s. Once you’ve planned out the rest of your life with one of the boy band hotties of our past, it’s a time you don’t forget. But how can this eye-rolling, sappy time in a preteen’s life relate to a great company’s content marketing strategy? Let’s discuss, everybody (Backstreet’s Back).


A brand on fire

If you’re a music lover, you’re usually in one category or the other—either you really love boy bands, or really hate them. Regardless of your feelings, your knowledge of boy bands is inevitable. (Apologies to my dad, who had to endure relentless replays of every BSB album I owned.)


So, where’s the connection here? How could Kevin, AJ, Brian (♥), Nick, and Howie have anything to do with content marketing? Well, let me quit playing games with your heart… no? Shoot. I thought I had it.


Anyway, it’s about identifying your target market. Boy band marketers have become content marketing kings by making this their primary goal. Without an acute knowledge of this part of their marketing strategy, boy bands would fall flat after the first note.


The secret sauce

At the time, I was oblivious. I anxiously waited for every TV appearance (remember, there was no DVR…) and planned every detail of my fictional wedding to BSB’s heartthrob, Brian Littrell. (I would be Mrs. Littrell despite his engagement to what’s-her-face.) But as an adult marketer who is married to someone other than B-Rock, I am blissfully aware that I fell victim to the magic that is boy band marketing. It’s commanding, really. Think about it. In a matter of months, a boy band goes from, “Who?” to sheer pandemonium.


How do they do it? Target marketing.


Boy band marketers have a knack for learning how their target market ticks. With the valuable information they learn, they grow their boy band’s following at rapid speeds. This, my friends, has been the golden ticket of boy band marketing since the debut of the Beatles in 1960—that’s over 50 years! The micro-focus on a target market’s attitudes and behaviors is the simple secret to their success. And every brand should follow suit.


Beyond the demographics

It’s easy to identify the basics of your target market—female, in a specific geographic region, between the ages of 7 and 15, and living in a household with an income of $x/year. But take it a step further, where the real money is made. If you can identify how your market consumes content, how they behave, and what attitudes they have toward products and services like yours, you’ve got something your competitors don’t—fuel for your content-marketing fire.


So, how can you drive to the heart of your target market? Research and build personas. Writing detailed descriptions of your personas helps you to see each as a person and not just a target, which is valuable when developing content for the person on the other side of the screen. Need help getting started with personas? Check out Buyer Personas—Part 2: 3 easy steps to creating personas for kick-ass content (need to write).


Use it or lose it

Armed with the knowledge of how your target audience thinks and acts, you’re ready to win. This knowledge helps you create content that speaks to them and allows you to know where to distribute it. Why spend your marketing dollars distributing content to folks who have no interest in your product or service? Alternatively, spend your dollars where you can ensure high ROI—with an audience who is eager to hear what you have to say, craves it, and seeks it out all hours of the day.


That’s what I did as a doe-eyed tween. I was a hunter on the prowl for any and all things BSB. And the marketers used their knowledge to be at every turn.


About Ebonn Hixson

Ebonn Hixson (@ebonny_sans_y) is Communications Director for Storylift (@getStorylift). The company’s Content Distribution Platform reaches over 200 million US readers and features the industry’s most advanced audience targeting capabilities. Ebonn promotes the platform & Storylift | The Magazine, which publishes research and innovative strategies to over 110,000 content marketing professionals each month.