Developing a Content Persona: Why You Need One!
“…and you call yourself a content marketer”
We know you’re guilty of it. In fact, we know exactly what you’ve been doing.
Rather, we know what you HAVEN’T been doing.
And you call yourself a marketer. *PFFT* you should be ashamed of yourself…
Truth is, you’re not the only one.
It’s actually the M.O of most marketing agencies who often get slammed with work and honestly, can’t be bothered going the extra distance for their clients.
What is this dastardly deed we speak of?
Not creating a content persona.
While you may think this doesn’t warrant our response, the results can actually prove deleterious to your campaign, causing you to waste money on a strategy that’s been doomed from the get-go.
Creating a generic ad and employing a scattergun effect for targeting may glean some results (and may have done so in the past), but think of how much more fruitful your endeavours would be if you carefully targeted and tailored a strategy to really connect with your target demographic.
Sounds like (best practice ಠ_ಠ) a great opportunity to us!
What is a content persona?
First of all, did you know that 81% of marketers believe they completely understand their target audience, while almost 78% of customers feel misunderstood by marketers?
To the 81% of disillusioned marketers, we have a saying in Australia for you…
Creating a content persona mitigates most of this sense of misunderstanding.
“Mate, you’re dreamin!”
What it is, is a compendium of information that details the characteristics, behaviours, pain points, activities etc of the target audience, making it easier for you to create content that speaks directly to that group of interest, provoking a desired response.
The more you know about who you’re writing to, the better you’ll be able to create content they’re sure to be interested in.
It takes out the guesswork, gives you a point of focus and helps you create accordingly.
Here are a few steps that we like to go through when determining who we want perusing our content and how to write for them!
Step 1: Research your demographic
Get as much information on your target demographic as you can.
Whether you’re using analytics, sending out a questionnaire or reviewing your client list, the best way to create content for the right market is by learning everything you can about them.
Essential information may include details such as age, gender, location, education, industry, family, values, you name it!
“Start off with plenty of information in order to start with a firm foundation.”
Step 2: The “jobs to be done” method
Whilst it may appear counterintuitive, the next step of creating an accurate audience persona to sell to is to forget you’re selling a product.
In fact, Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt proposed that products don’t have any inherent value, so we shouldn’t sell them.
Instead what we should be selling is the satisfaction that the product can provide.
This is the core of the ‘jobs to be done’ method in creating a persona.
“…we should be selling the satisfaction that [a] product can provide”
While it’s important to understand the details of your target demographic, it is equally as important to know what their needs are and the “job that the product needs to do” in order to help them.
Knowing this will make all the difference in how you write content for that specific audience.
Check out this amazing reference in action here.
Basically, this is akin to ascertaining your audience’s pain points.
Step 3: Creating the persona
After collating all the information required to help you visualise your ideal customer, create a profile you can refer to whilst creating your content.
You can do create this with a stock photo of someone and even give them a name.
Heck, you can even draw a face on your thumb and talk to it, whatever works.
Having a visual cue to focus on often helps you write as if you’re speaking directly to the reader, something powerful that helps your audience feel like the content was created specifically for them.
Step 4: Create a plan of action.
Once you’ve figured out who you’re creating content for, you can then proceed to create it! With all the information you’ve garnered you’ll know who you want to reach, the type of language they relate to, how they’d respond to certain imagery, references, the list goes on.
However, the main thing to consider beforehand is the placement of the content.
Be aware of where your audience will most likely see your ads and make sure this suits their online behaviours.
This should also bring to mind the three levels of the marketing funnel highlighting “awareness”, “consideration” and “decision” all of which should hold up your strategy with the appropriate content tailored to suit.
If you’ve forgotten what that looks like here’s how the funnel should be shaped.
“[Help] them be aware of their need and your potential to assist…”
Awareness: Providing content at the top of the funnel that highlights the customers need and your offering.
This helps them be aware of their need and your potential to assist.
Consideration: By this point, the buyer is looking for solutions to their issue.
Your awareness of the customer through your persona research is crucial at this stage, helping to reach them with your ability to assist them there and then.
Decision: By this stage, your buyer will be ready to make a purchase and your content will need to convince them.
Use your persona knowledge to get them to make the final step, potentially through remarketing.
Instead of throwing a whole bunch of information at you, we thought we’d show you some example personas we’ve created; That way you can do the same for your group of interest.
Here’s what we’ve been able to come up with…
Give it a go for yourself! Every persona you create makes it easier to write in a way that speaks directly to that audience, helping you be purposeful with your campaigns from beginning to end. We’ve even written a post on how to create content for personas from cultures that you otherwise might not be familiar with. An invaluable skill that’s crucial to learn in this day and age. Also be sure to read up on how to be a more effective digital storyteller when it comes to your content, helping you produce things that people care about!
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