Every blog writer’s nightmare scenario goes something like this: You’ve taken the time to find and research a great topic, mapped out an outline of what you want to say, and then let the words flow onto the page like a waterfall cascading into a big open river.
When you read the blog, it speaks to you, and you even think it’s good enough to be recognized as the next great work of literature.
Here’s the problem: After the blog was published, you found out that it fell on deaf ears. The audience that read your blog didn’t appreciate a great work of literature— they read a message that didn’t resonate with them at all. All of the sudden, all of your planning and execution got washed away into the wrong buyer persona stream.
Aside from being a talented mind-reader, how else would you know that your blogs aren’t reaching your intended audience?
For starters, you can utilize an analytics tool—such as the one HubSpot offers—to view your traffic and blog page performance. The dashboard reveals which visitors are viewing your blog, and you’ll also be able to verify the companies they work for.
You should also backtrack on your existing subscriber list to make sure it’s not out-of-date or simply not the subscribers you are trying to attract at the moment. Go through the list, make sure that the contacts you have are correct according to title and company affiliation, and include all updates to keep your list current and buyer-persona friendly.
Before expanding further on the buyer persona concept, let’s take a step back and properly identify the term.HubSpot classifies a buyer persona as a “semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
So to better attract a new audience, you really need to understand your customers. That means you should be aware of their key challenges, behavior patterns, business goals, and general interests.
And you don’t just need to know about them on a business level, although that is certainly the starting point. It also helps to know about their personal likes and dislikes and what they do in their free time. The more you know, the better your chances are for relating and eventually capturing a loyal following.
Getting to know your buyer persona requires wearing your interviewer hat. Start with specific questions you can send out to current customers or prospects. Some of them are likely to match the personas you are looking to target next.
Here is some essential information you should be looking for:
Past vendor and customer Relationships
If you can interview these individuals in person, even better. Once you’ve extracted all of this raw data, you’ll need to synthesize the most pertinent nuggets of information and present detailed buyer persona representations to your sales and marketing teams—and of course, your blog writers.
With the buyer persona knowledge you gain, the blogging process itself becomes much easier. We promise. All of that hard work you put into creating a blog won’t go to waste when you are engaging the right readers and potential customers. Before you know it, your blogs will be seen and heard by the people you want to do business with. In turn, they’ll share those blogs on their social networks.
Once you attract a group of buyer personas, you’ll need to confirm that they are indeed the right audience. You can use analytics and closely monitor your blog activity to:
Check the bounce rates from your subscriber list
Take the temperature of reader feedback through the comments section
Peek into your social media sharing, including retweets and recommendations
Assess how many clicks you gain, especially if build call-to-actions into your blogs
You’ll also want to determine the best steps for converting your personas into leads. In TSL Marketing’s upcoming webinar, SMART Marketing. Convert More Leads to Customers, we will divulge agency secrets for not only attracting your personas but also turning them into long-term customers.
So before you start to flex your blogging muscle, take the time to perfect your buyer persona identification process. You’ll start attracting new leads that actually fit your business profile and add considerable value to your lead progression activities. Ultimately, you’ll be able to close new business while also keeping your current customers hooked on your content—and coming back for more.
Originally published Jul 11, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016