If you’ve ever read this blog or been to an Academy training class, the importance of personas shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
It’s no secret that taking the time to identify who we’re actually marketing to will improve our ability to tailor our marketing to precisely what those people what to see.
But how exactly do we go about doing that tailoring?
Or more importantly, once you’ve got an idea for who one of your personas might be, how does that visualization translate into the ceation of real marketing content?
The answer is simple: once you know what your ideal customers (your buyer personas) are interested in, worried about, working toward, or struggling with, you can use that information to build content that helps your persona address those issues, overcome those challenges, and reach those goals.
And the best part? You don’t have to wait until your personas are complete before you can start creating that content for them. In fact, the very questions you’ll already be asking in the persona research process can be used as fodder for endless ideas of what to write and publish. Wondering how to get started?
How to Use Personas to Create Content
Let’s look at six common persona research questions you’re already asking that can be transformed into remarkable content.
1. “What skills are required for you to succeed in your role?”
This question falls into the “role” category of persona research questions, so is probably one of the very first ones you’ll ask – and the inspiration for some of the very first pieces of content you can create. Once you’ve identified what skills your persona needs to succeed in their role, think about what your persona needs to have, know, or learn to keep up with those skills. How do those skills apply to a problem your persona might be facing? Use this knowledge to inspire content designed specifically for your persona.
- A content offer for a marketer who counts Microsoft Office as an essential job skill titled, “5 Excel Tricks Every Marketer Should Know”
- A blog post targeted to a social media marketer titled, “What Twitter Teaches us About Customer Delight”
2. “What industry or industries does your company work with?”
Identifying the specific industry your persona occupies is a goldmine. It automatically provides you a frame of reference from which your content should be written. If your persona is in the manufacturing industry and you sell packaging materials, then write about the best packaging materials for various forms of machinery or goods.
On the other hand, if your persona is a stay-at-home parent and you run a nanny service, then it’s probably not very beneficial to discuss how your nannies can come to clients’ offices and offer childcare at work. Instead, a better piece of content would be one discussing the benefits of at-home nanny service for full-time parents.
See where we’re going here? Knowing what your persona does lets you know how to best talk about what you do.
3. “What are you trying to accomplish/achieve in your role?”
Identifying what your persona is trying to do – and, by extension, what they might need help with – is at the heart of why creating buyer personas is so crucial for inbound success. What is your persona’s goal? What are they working toward? Create content that helps them learn more about that goal and what they might need to achieve it.Here are a couple ideas for content to create based off of personas’ goals
- A blog post for a company that sells children’s sports mouth guards designed to protect growing mouths titled, “What Every Mom Should Know When Choosing a Mouth Guard for your Child.”
- A content offer targeted toward a persona who is trying to generate more leads for their business titled,“The 10 Best Lead Generation Tactics You’ve Never Thought Of.”
4. “What’s standing in the way of you reaching your goal?”
Equally as important as understanding what goal your persona is trying to accomplish is understating why they can’t currently achieve that goal. Why do they need a product or service like yours?
From the question above, you know what they’re working toward; it’s also essential to understand why they’re having difficulty reaching that goal. Is it a matter of not having enough time? Not having the financial resources? Simply not knowing that a product or service like yours exists? There are many potential reasons why your personas are currently unable to achieve their goal.
Take a legal recruiting firm, for example. Their persona, Associate Alice, is a corporate lawyer interested in finding a new job. Alice may very much want to switch jobs, but likely also feels she doesn’t have enough hours in a day to fulfill her 'lawyerly' duties on top of searching for a new position.
To help Alice address her goal-impeding issue of not having enough time, the legal recruiting firm could create content focused on helping Alice find more time in her day -- for example, a post titled “Time Management Tips from the Nation’s Best Lawyers.” While this content doesn’t directly relate to the recruiting firm’s goal of taking on Alice as a client, it paves the way for her to be open to the services they offer.
5. “What is the most important problem you need to solve?”
What’s the problem your persona is spending hours researching on the Internet? What issue is keeping them up at night, or putting a damper on their success within their industry?
In addition to that problem or issue being what your company solves for your persona, it also can be the basis for a slew of easy content wins. Knowing what your personas are worried about provides you the opportunity to create content that helps your personas learn more about what’s troubling them, why they’re facing their issues at hand, and what some potential solutions might be.
- A blog post created for a persona in an HR role who is struggling with low morale at her office titled, “The 4 Most Common Causes of Employee Dissatisfaction”
- A content offer targeted toward a persona with a large amount of data that must be stored securely titled, “What Your Business Must Know Before Choosing a Data Storage Center”
6. “What publications or blogs do you like to read?”
One of the tenants of creating buyer personas is to ensure persona profiles contain information about not just what a persona does, but why they do it. The same concept should also be applied when developing ideas for persona-focused content. Your personas are already consuming – and already like – some types of content. So, identify what that content is to get an idea of precisely what they like about it.
Learning what publications or blogs your persona reads to stay up-to-date on the trends within their industry first helps you understand where your personas get their information. But dive deeper than just the names of the sources themselves to understand why they like those particular publications.
For example, what tone do those information sources use? Are they more casually written, or very formal? Are they particularly jargon-heavy? Which posts or articles seem to have garnered the most attention – and what are they about? Apply what you find to your own content! Try using a similar tone, citing similar sources, or writing about related topics.
By taking a close look at the sources your persons already trust and rely upon, you can get a great idea of what to create to become another trusted, relied-upon source.
Buyer personas define who a business or organization is trying to reach – and every single organization is trying to reach someone. Paint a clear picture of exactly whom that person is (complete with their wants, needs, goals, challenges, demographics, role in life, and beyond). By using information gained through persona research, you can create your own marketing and content strategy to attract, convert, close, and delight the right visitors, leads, and customers.
What other questions have you asked during your own persona research? How have you used those questions to create content?