Let’s be very clear about one thing: The only way to ensure that an investment in content marketing will pay off is to know your target audience. And the more narrowly you focus your content based on that knowledge, the more effective your strategy will be.
You see, most businesses have a broad customer base. And within that broad base are niche groups with distinct wants and needs, and unique motivations. A powerful tool to expand your understanding of those specific needs and motivations is to create a persona; this is an archetypal character that represents different user types within a targeted demographic that might use your product or service in a similar way [LINK TO http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/personas_empath.html]. Persona development has become a critical part of the research stage of content strategy development.
Where to Begin?
The Plan stage of the Compendium tool provides a template for the creation of personas. But before you get started, dig into your customer research to be sure you have answers to the following questions. (If you don’t have these answers, you’ll want to get them because this information is essential to creating well-rounded customer personas.)
What is the demographic information of each persona? Break down your data to create a picture of each personality type. Identify the person’s gender, age, household income and marital status. Does he or she have kids? If you’re targeting a business-to-business customer, what industry sector does the person work in? What is his or her level at work (e.g., executive, management, staff, line worker)? These are the basics—your starting point.
What makes them tick? Think about a typical day in each persona’s life. Is he or she driven by work? Does the person want to achieve a more balanced lifestyle? Consider the individual’s passions, pastimes and values. What creates the greatest personal and professional joy? Digging into what drives your personas daily will help you understand what will excite them about your products and services. In turn, you’ll be able to create content that connects with their deepest desires.
What are their fears, frustrations and pain points? The beauty of content marketing is that it can help solve problems, answer questions and address unmet needs. You just need to understand what these are for each of your personas.
Where do they currently go to seek information? We know that consumers today do a lot of research online before making purchase decisions. But where, specifically, do your personas go? What websites? How do you they search? And don’t overlook the possibility that they might still prefer magazines, newspapers and books as research sources.
What experience will engage them? When you’re developing a content strategy, you need to think holistically about the channels you’re using to reach customers and the ways in which they prefer to interact with your brand. On your website, specifically, think about the steps a user will go through to make a purchase. You might have a persona that is self-directed, preferring to get in and get out quickly, while another might like guidance and advice when making choices. Understanding preferences will help you create an online experience that not only will draw in your customers but will also keep them coming back.
With answers to these questions, you’ll be able to begin persona development. You can break down your customer base into personality-driven segments that are easily profiled with demographic information, as well as traits that lead to buying decisions. Armed with this critical information, you can craft a targeted mix of content types—articles, podcasts, videos, infographics and the like—that addresses the unique interests of each persona, increasing the likelihood that the content will connect, engage and drive the customer further through your purchase funnel.
Plan, produce and publish meaningful content for your audience personas
Compendium’s persona tool makes identifying audience microsegments second nature, then helps ensure your content is customized and strategically distributed. Request a demo today.