Losing at the Content Marketing Game?
Buyer Personas Are the Answer

20

JULY 2016

Let me introduce you to Gareth. He is 40, married with two kids, living in a big apartment in Brooklyn. He has a small business that sells cleaning services. He also has a blog on his company’s website. Every day, Gareth worries about the new blog entry he is going to produce. You see, Gareth doesn’t have a big marketing budget, but he is doing his best to keep up with his competitors and come up with relevant content, that could help sell his services more, bring more people to his site.

buyer personas
Gareth worries about his content every day: at work, in the car, while in meetings, while waiting in line for tickets to the next Star Trek movie his kids want to see this week… Gareth feels like, although he has learned a lot about content marketing, SEO, Google rules, good titles, good keywords, he is still missing out. His blogs are good, his reach is minimal, people don’t actually read him.

Don’t be like Gareth. Be a smart content creator.

Now, Gareth is an imagined person. I just made him up a couple of seconds ago. He doesn’t exist but his problems do. Gareth is one persona I have in mind when writing this piece. He is the representation of an ideal buyer for my writing services. He could undoubtedly benefit from using our professional services. He would save time, energy and come up with better, more intelligent content marketing- targeted solutions for his cleaning company.

See what I did here? I just created a marketing persona for my business. I did it using my imagination, but I would not recommend you do this at home. If you want to truly be effective in your content marketing efforts, it is no longer enough to just speak to a generalized audience. It would be like emitting on a short-wave band and speaking for hours without having the slightest idea if anyone is actually picking up your signal. Speaking to everyone and no one in fact. That doesn’t sell too much, does it?  I bet you have already been there before, at which point you wondered: “why am I even investing in content marketing for my small business, when nothing really happens?”

Creating well researched buyer personas for your content, on the other hand, might be the saving grace for your online content strategy. Oh, did I mention this is the latest trend every smart marketer is tapping into these days?

But I have already segmented my audience by demographic attributes! – you will probably say to me. Good for you, but this isn’t working too well, is it? It is easier to create relevant content that will reach a real audience, when you write each piece having a single human being in mind. You might not have met him or her but they have the attributes a real person would have. They are painted in vivid details, they can be your neighbor, the person you meet in traffic, or even better, the visitor so obsessed with your products they find out they cannot live without them. So, reach out to them and speak to them as you would with a friend. Tell them your story, detail your products or services in a way that is easy for them to understand. In a way that will resonate with their needs and desires. Have you caught their attention yet?

Building Your Buyer Personas

Gather intel on your users and targeted clients

  • Every business has customer data put together. Take a look at the real data your current clients are leaving. Try to interview some of them, if they haven’t left any relevant details. You can also pull interesting audience reports from Google Analytics.
  • Another smart thing to do would be to start conducting surveys or even ad a survey popup on your site.
  • Now, your business might be just too young for you to be able to gather all that information based on company data only. This is why your competitors exist, though. It doesn’t hurt to take a quick look at what your competitors are doing. Look at their business stats, analyze their social media following.
  • It doesn’t hurt to start looking at your own company following on social media. Who are most of your followers? Are they buyers or just random followers? What are their interests? What do they share most, what do they like about your services, what exactly makes them react to your posts?
  • If you can afford it, pay for an in-depth market research analysis. You will be able to find companies who are specifically focused on creating buyer personas for a business. Don’t settle for the basic information they will provide though, go deeper with your study and add details.

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Putting Together the Profile

Getting creative with your profile creation is essential. Try to figure out all the details of a persona you build, otherwise you may just end up writing for a general audience again. Here are a few suggested questions to write down, when you put together the first persona.

  • Who is the person?
  • What is their gender?
  • What age are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • What is their status? Married, divorced?
  • Do they have children?
  • How old are their children?
  • What household income does this person have?
  • What job do they have?
  • Where did they study?
  • What is the person’s daily routine?
  • What are their buying habits?
  • What do they usually buy and why?
  • What are their biggest securities and fears?
  • Where do they work?
  • What is their job position?
  • What challenges do they face at work?
  • How do they look at success and what point are they at in their career?
  • What communication channels does this person favor?
  • What social media channels do they use?
  • How do they prefer information? Do they like to read more than watch or listen?

After you have put together all these details, success!! You already created your first buyer persona. Work on creating a couple more and then start structuring your content based on these important details.

Remember, use your persona’s language, make sure you resonate with who they are and what they are looking for.

When the reader sees themselves in your words, your content is going to be more meaningful to them, and they’re going to pay more attention to it. That connection will not only keep the audience reading, it will also make the content more persuasive, effectively moving the reader toward conversion.

Now, because I don’t want to bore Gareth, my persona of choice for today, I am going to put an end to it. Remember Gareth, all is not lost with your content marketing efforts. You just need a bit of help and a good, solid understanding of who your business targets. I can help you with that. I can make it so that your next blockbuster movie night will not be marred by nightmares about the next content piece you are going to create. Let me help you identify who your target audience is and write for it in a meaningful manner. Every smart business owner is doing it, so why don’t you?

Annie Ianko

Content Happiness Advisor

Annie has 18 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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