You’ve created your Customer Personas, but now what? How do you use a Customer Persona in your Content Strategy? This question is almost as common as “How do I read this SEO Data?”
Small businesses, bloggers, and anyone who has a website struggle with coming up with not only good content but who they should target.
If they happen to have their target audience figured out, many have no idea how they can incorporate that information into creating content.
In fact, I’ve come across a lot of frustrated business owners who want to know exactly how to create a content strategy for their business. What should they say? Where should they share that message?
The problem here is what we are all guilty of, jumping in with both feet.
I know that has happened to me before. When I created christinaqwrites.com, I was so excited I was writing for a living that I immediately didn’t focus on who my audience was.
It was only when I identified my customers/clients and readers that I understood what they wanted/needed to hear.
While this blog brings me joy, it is not all about me! And nor should it be; this blog, as with so many others, is here to offer value and solutions to those who are struggling with specific problems.
Readers/Audiences and potential customers are all individually unique and have different needs. Each one of them wants to consume content in their own way.
It is possible to connect deeply with your audience when you study them and learn their gender, age, and or interests.
Focus on building your buyer personas for multiple buyers, and then create content based upon them to create diverse content.
A great way to understand your audience is to ask them. Use simple surveys to help you understand the type of content they crave. (i.e. video, short articles, reading at their desks, or listening to a podcast as they commute to work)
Check out my article on Customer Surveys with examples to help you get started.
To motivate your audience to take the survey, be sure to add an incentive, such as a discount code or perhaps a gift card for selected winners.
As I mentioned in the article Customer Survey with examples, you will want to post your survey anywhere you can to get it in front of your audience. (Ie, newsletters, emails, social media, blog posts, etc.)
What exactly makes a good content strategy?
Everyone wants to know how to create an effective content strategy for their business. In fact, many will spend hours on Google trying to answer that very question but coming up with advice that is not very useful.
Many people are confused as to what they need to say, which platform/s they should use, and what messages they should bring.
When it comes to their services, they wonder which they should highlight or put the most effort into and how much effort is enough.
Very often, people just want to jump headfirst into doing before addressing the essential question-Who is their audience? What is it that their customers are wanting to hear? Or what problems do their customers need answers to?
We have all been there. While there are several ways to create a content marketing strategy for your business, we are often left scratching our heads, wondering how effective our efforts are.
I know that it can be incredibly tempting to write what you can to just put something out there, but trust me, a little time, research, and effort will bring huge returns in the long run.
Spending time learning and understanding your audience before putting out content is likely to reach the exact audience you are trying to market to.
Get to know your audience.
Open any marketing strategy book or any advertising book, and you will find the same message: Know your audience.
By developing a customer persona, you can do just that. The customer persona makes your individual customer real to you. It gives your customer a face, a name, and a personality.
You learn how they think, how they speak, what they want to read, what platforms they like to use, and what their pain points are.
Any strategy that is created will be aimed at your audience. When creating your content, you’ll easily target your audience and more likely build trust with them.
Your audience will depend on you to provide goods or services that they need.
Stop trying to do too much!
We want to be all things to everyone. It is just something many of us feel we have to do in our business, but the truth is you don’t have to be everything.
It isn’t effective to try and reach EVERYONE in the world. When trying to be all things to everyone, the chances are you are not going to please anyone.
Be specific on whom you target. Hoping that all your content reaches every customer on the market will confuse your message, and the potential customer will not understand how you can help them.
An effective content marketing strategy begins with identifying exactly who it is you want to speak to.
By understanding and pinpointing your target audience, your message will be clearer, and you will increase your chances of developing a strategy that can effectively connect with them.
Customer personas are how you widdle down the customers you don’t need to target and identify the customers you should reach.
For example, imagine a bookseller trying to establish their new business. If they communicate by listing all the services they do and every book they carry, it may seem like the quickest way to get out there, but they are more than likely confusing many people.
On the other hand, if the bookseller had taken the time to develop a customer persona and knows that one customer type is a bookworm looking for a new series to fall in love with, they can put out carefully created content that shows people just how their inventory will satisfy their needs.
There will always be people looking for a great new book; just look at goodreads.com or Twitter. People ask their friends all the time for recommendations.
Pay attention to these details will demonstrate that your customers feel they are understood and that their needs are being paid special attention. This will, in turn, help you to get more sales.
What are customer personas?
I always advise my clients to create at least 4 personas that will include their target demographic.
By creating a content strategy that speaks directly to these people, you will be targeting your target audience.
I also explain to my clients that they should treat the customer personas as real people.
Think of them as your best friends. This means taking time to understand exactly who they are. You should understand their income, their lifestyle, education, how they like to socialize, how they like to learn if they have a family and if they have limited time in their schedules.
Researching your audience’s background will give you a better idea of how to create your content strategy., communicating directly with them. (as though you’re old friends.)
The personas become actual people, and that helps you to make a connection, which in turn has you making an investment in them.
Going back to the bookseller, they may have another customer persona that is a student looking for a reference book that breaks down a complicated class.
By developing an understanding of exactly who that student is, what their budget looks like, their background, and what publications they will use for research, the bookseller can create a strategic campaign that will target the student’s pain points and have a presence on the platforms they are spending time on. By understanding the character further, the bookseller can research who else is in that market.
Perhaps a teacher looking to help her struggling students. They can then develop content that stands out from their competition.
Learn how you can create Exceptional Content by developing your personas.
Show people the benefits you bring
You know when someone is about to buy something when they have spent valuable time and energy looking into the product and begin imagining themselves using it.
This is exactly where you are hoping that people will get with your products or services.
You want your content marketing to help them to see the benefits that you bring to the table and to help them begin imagining how their lives could be better if they buy your product or service.
How can you create a customer persona?
How do you develop a customer persona? I would advise that you start with no more than four. These personalities will then be the people you will want to target your content messages to.
The more you can understand exactly who the persona represents, the clearer your messages are going to be.
Think about our bookseller example.
We’ve started by knowing that a key customer is a bookworm looking for a new series. The more that we can understand about how this person is, their budget, how they communicate, their values, and of course, the genre they are interested in, the more we can understand how to create content that speaks directly to this bookworm.
We will need to give our bookworm a name!
Know the type of area they live in, the size of the family, their income, the content they consume, gender, etc. We can base the bookworm on the bookseller’s experience with their customers.
Although the persona will not be an exact match for every customer, they will be representative of a key element of the bookseller’s customers.
By understanding how this bookworm communicates and what they enjoy reading, frustrations and goals, we can develop a content strategy that will not only engage them but will keep them coming back.
Example of a Customer person
As an example, the bookseller’s customer is called Taylor. She is 17 years old, has brothers and sisters, rides a bike to school, and listens to fantasy podcasts when she gets ready in the morning.
She reads books and uses Instagram and Facebook, values her time reading, creativity and fantasy. The bookseller can then create content that is found in the relevant platforms and highlight her values and how the books provided are what she is looking for, giving her the variety of books she is more likely to pay attention to over the others in her area.
If you are creating content just for the sake of creating content, then who are you creating content for?
If your target audience doesn’t care about the topic you’re writing about, they will not be engaged or even visit your site.
For content to deliver true marketing results, it needs to be focused on what your target audiences, as represented by your customer personas, care about.
This is how you build trust, establish authority and keep them coming back.
Any effective content marketing strategy backed with a well-researched customer persona is going to give you an understanding of who your target audience is, and how you should speak to them.
As professionals, we want our messages to be clear and well thought out, not muddy and confusing.