Content marketing is a strategy. And when a strategy is not executed in a coordinated way – and if you don’t adapt to changes as they present themselves – it will fail. Enter: content marketing personas.
That, in essence, is why content marketing plans sometimes don’t produce the results we think they should. We’re not monitoring how our audience is responding to us and adapting our messaging to become or remain relevant to them.
The reality of just about any content marketing program is that you’re not going to be appealing to only one kind of person. Inevitably, you will attract those outside of the scope you initially planned for.
Defining content marketing personas will put you in touch with your audience and what transformation you want to begin to initiate with them. That will lead to the development of strategic content that gets results. Here’s what you need to know about personas.
What Are Content Marketing Personas?
A persona, by definition, represents a segment of your audience. No, the people within that segment aren’t necessarily the same in every respect, but they are mainly looking for the same kind of information.
What this tells us is that every business has multiple personas. Let’s say, for example, that you have an eCommerce store that sells fishing tackle. There might be a segment of your audience that’s interested in buying rods and lures. There might be another segment that’s interested in big ticket items like boats. And you might have another subdivision of your audience that’s looking for apparel and outdoor gear.
It’s not that every fisherman wouldn’t want a boat. It’s that the profile of someone seeking to buy a boat (like a 45-year-old farmer that loves to spend some time on the lake after a long day of work) might differ drastically from someone who is just looking to pick up an affordable rod, a tackle box, and a few lures (a 14-year-old that recently took up fishing as a hobby).
So those as mentioned above 45-year-old might be looking for in-depth information on how to choose a boat that’s right for them. Meanwhile, the 14-year-old needs to figure out how to get the most bang for the buck.
The goal of content marketing personas isn’t just to find demographic information, which might be quite diverse (i.e., geography). The ultimate goal is to map out a plan for relevant, valuable content for different personas. It will drive traffic to your site and help you achieve your business objectives.
How Do You Create a Persona?
With content marketing personas it depends somewhat on the market you’re serving, whether B2B or B2C, as well as the information necessary to help your marketing team, create content that’s genuinely helpful for your different personas.
Here are some items that should consider:
- Where do they work, what’s their job title, what industry do they belong to, and what specific tasks or responsibilities do they have in their role?
- What challenges and frustrations do they have, what pain points are they looking to solve, how long have they been looking for a solution, and they are a decision-maker within the organization or not?
- What content types do they prefer, what platforms are they using (i.e., mobile device, laptop, desktop, etc.) when do they seek out this information, how often are they exposed to the kind of content they’re looking for, and how much time to they spend on social media?
- How do they decide what content to engage, who do they follow, what resources do they have access to within their company, and is there anything in particular that triggers their content consumption habits?
These prompts will help you build your content marketing personas. They will help you create a content marketing plan that gets you ROI. If there’s anything here that isn’t helpful, or if it doesn’t make your content creation process any more actionable than it already was, then leave it out. The same goes for anything that you feel you need to add to hone in on a target persona. Capture that data point.
But above all, keep it simple, and don’t over-stress. See your personas, not as text etched into a tablet, but rather as a fluid, moving piece that you can update and refine as you go. Don’t forget to document each persona you’ve identified.
Thinking about personas enables your team to think regarding the different people that are searching for information and what information they’re looking for. It helps them identify what content they might need to take the next step towards a purchase. Adding value to your audience in this way helps you build credibility with them. You’ll convert more leads into customers as you build trust with them.
What is your experience with content marketing personas? How do you define the different segments for your business?
Let us know in the comments.