If you missed Part 1 of Audience Personas, you might want to take a gander to learn why personas are important. If you’re up to speed, let’s dive into creating said personas in 3 simple (and hopefully painless) steps.
Step 1: Gather information
You likely identified a macro persona when you laid out your business plan. Having an idea of who your customer is is essential to developing your product/service. But a macro persona is also groundwork for a full-blown target persona, which is invaluable when developing a strategic content marketing plan. With the macro version of your buyer persona in hand, set out to learn as much as you can to build the ultimate profile. Look for additional information:
- job title
- where they work
- details about their role
- goals & challenges
- attitudes & behaviors
Identifiers such as these help to shape what the persona looks like and ultimately help you to understand to whom you will be talking. And don’t be afraid to identify more than one persona. TWEET THIS (select to tweet) Personas are guiding lights: the more you have, the less often you’ll get lost.
Although this part of the process may be a daunting task to some, it’s best to think of it as fun research. Host focus groups, run surveys, review site analytics and talk to people who represent your target audience. Find out their hobbies, behaviors, how they consume content, the blogs they read, and where they get their news. The more you look into and listen to the behaviors and attitudes of your target customer, the more you’ll be able to craft messages that hook them and keep them engaged. It’s called relevant content. And the importance of such was mentioned in the first part of the article. Didn’t read it? Find it here.
Not sure where or how to get started? Try our sample template:
Step 2: Humanize the data
Once you’ve gathered all the information, it’s time to put a literal face to it. It’s not enough to have this information in your head or to talk about it at your next employee meeting. You need to take it a step further and make it a part of your documented content strategy.
To show you what we mean, here’s a sample of a completed persona template:
- The Image & Name: Our image is an illustration, but feel free to grab a real one if it helps you visualize Judy better. By assigning an image and name, you’ll have Judy’s face and attributes in your head each time you or a team member crafts your next piece of content.
- The Who: Listing the generic demographics will help you start on the path of figuring out exactly who Judy is.
- The attributes: Judy is more than a creative director; she’s also a mom. The more you know about Judy, the better you’ll be able to write and distribute content she’ll want to consume.
Step 3: Bring it all together
When you’ve completely filled out your template for each of your target customers, it’s time to strategize. Evaluate the Judy persona, and shape your content marketing strategy around it. Make things easier by breaking out each of the sections and thinking of how you can make your content fit with it.
Here are a couple of examples:
- Content Consumption: Your research revealed that Judy spends a good amount of her time on Instagram. Since Instagram is mainly a visual channel, why not look at what you can make visual? With old content or new, think about breaking through the visual clutter by speaking to Judy’s interests/hobbies in a visual way. The goal is to make her stop and read/look at your post, and to engage by following your call to action. Although Instagram doesn’t allow linking in the photo caption, you can refer folks to your profile, list the link there, and then track your analytics of how many people come to that page via the Instagram link.
- Attitudes: You learned that Judy agrees that traveling for business is a chore. With that information, can you find a way to convince Judy that your product or service will make traveling more enjoyable? If you are selling her project management software, maybe an app would help her while she’s on the go. Not having to lug her computer around at all times is bound to impress her. Then use the app to push notifications to her about product or service updates, promotions, and new features.
Continue to work your way through each of the sections. In no time, you’ll have a content marketing strategy in outline form that can be used to craft and distribute content in a strategic way. This approach may put you in front of your competition.
Now that you know the importance of personas and how to create them, you’re ready to create one kick-ass content marketing plan that produces the results you are looking for.
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.