It’s extremely difficult to make content that's written for everyone. The more you try, the more you risk spreading your information too thin. For this reason, it's critical that you focus your efforts on writing for audiences that will find your content the most engaging and helpful.
As with any marketing plan, knowing who your audience is and what their pain points are is vital to success. What this generally involves is gathering information to create a "buyer persona"—a fictional, generalized sketch of a particular type of customer—which can be used to tailor the tone, look and focus of your content.
What Is A Buyer Persona?
According to acclaimed marketing author Ardath Albee, a buyer persona is a "composite sketch" that represents a "segment of your target market.” This is certainly true and a potent description.
At their most basic level, buyer personas are detailed description of your ideal customers, focusing on things such as their objectives, orientation, obstacles, their key informational needs and what kinds of content they prefer to consume. Buyer personas help put a face to your customers (and potential customers) and make it easier for you to tailor your content to their specific needs, behaviors, and concerns.
By defining the role and characteristics of the specific people with whom you're trying to communicate, you can better identify the purpose of your content, whether it's to inspire, inform, entertain or persuade.
How To Create A Buyer Persona
Take the time to brainstorm these questions and use them to create a buyer persona for your content marketing strategy:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What gender is that person?
- How old are they?
- Where do they work?
- What's their job title?
- Where do they fit into your buying cycle?
- What are their biggest challenges related to your product or service?
- How can your product or service fill the gap?
- Where do they get their information from?
Buyer personas can be created through research, surveys, and discussions with your current customers. To get this information:
- You can interview your existing customers to get a better understanding of how they came to buy your product or service
- Look through your contacts database to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content
- You can use surveys to collect demographic and other information about your users
- You can talk with your sales team and learn more about the sell cycle and customers from them
Using Your Buyer Persona
Once you've taken the time to create your buyer personas, it's time to put them to use. Here are some tips to help you get the wheels turning on applying buyer personas to your content marketing strategy:
Share Your Buyer Persona
Once you create your buyer persona, you will likely refer to it often as you create your content. You should share the persona with other departments in your organization, including sales and service, to help them understand their customer.
Update It As Needed
As your business changes, your products and services may also change. As a result, your ideal client may change as well. For this reason, your personas will need to be updated periodically to make sure they continue to be relevant.
“The only reason to build a new persona is when it allows marketers to create something more effective, more compelling, or more persuasive for a buyer,” Adele Revella said at the 2014 Content Marketing World.
Map It To Your Buyer’s Journey
Your persona will help you understand where your prospect is within the buyer’s journey. By mapping the persona to your buying process, you'll be better able to create strategic content for your readers.
As the prospect progresses through the buying process, the persona will help you map out how your content should change for that reader. Identify their informational needs along with their objectives and activities at each stage (awareness, consideration, and decision).
Are you writing content for everyone? If the answer's "yes," you need to start targeting your content to specific audiences. Creating a buyer persona will help your content marketing strategy as well as your native ad content. It’s time well spent and pays back tenfold once you put it into practice.
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