Here’s an experiment to try—take a moment to think about your company’s target audience. Think of all the people who will be reading your social media posts, browsing your blog, or clicking from one page to another on your website. Try to visualize them. Chances are, you can’t get very specific. Unless you’ve done the research and assembled it into a coherent and usable format, your audience will remain unknowable to you. That’s why developing clear buyer personas is one of the most important steps of the content marketing process.
A buyer persona is simply a description of a representative member of your target audience. Its purpose is to help you visualize your audience better so you can engage with them more effectively. You might choose to develop a single buyer persona for your company, or you might opt to create several different personas to represent all the different segments of your audience. If you’re trying to hone your content marketing strategy, there’s no better place to start than by focusing in on who your customers are.
Why You Need a Buyer Persona
You might wonder why you need to spend the time and energy required to come up with buyer personas at all. Wouldn’t your time be better spent creating the actual content? The answer is that having clear buyer personas will help you plan and create better, more useful online content. The long-term benefits of creating buyer personas may not be obvious, but they are very real.
- Having a buyer persona helps you create content that is relevant to your audience’s interests, which is an essential part of inbound marketing. Once you know what your audience is looking for, you’ll be able to gear your content toward those expectations—which means that your readers are more likely to become your customers.
- Buyer personas also help you keep everybody in your company on the same page when it comes to your online content. When your entire team is clear on who your audience is and what they want, you will all be much better equipped to reach that audience effectively.
- Developing specific buyer personas will help you narrow down your target audience. It’s important to remember that not every person in the world is a potential customer—not realistically, at least. By defining your target audience and describing their interests, tastes, and needs, you’ll be able to focus on the prospective customers who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.
How to Create a Buyer Persona
At first, constructing an actual buyer persona may seem like an impossible task. Your audience may seem so vast and varied that you may feel hard-pressed to come up with a suitable description for a representative customer. Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to put together the ingredients of a buyer persona.
- Your first step should be to accumulate all the raw information you need to draw an accurate picture of a representative customer. You might get feedback from your sales team about their leads, or even talk directly to some of your customers to get a better sense of their interests. Having a form to fill out on your website can also be helpful in getting information about your audience.
- Using this information, choose a segment of your audience—or your entire audience, if you prefer—and create a fictional customer. You’ll need to come up with a few basics: a name, an occupation, a job title. If it’s helpful, you can list an age, an educational background, a marital status, and other demographic information as well.
- Next, start filling in the blanks, using the background information you’ve gathered about your customers to fill out your portrait of a typical customer. What are this person’s responsibilities at his or her job? How large is their company? What social media platforms is he or she most active on?
- Finally, you’ve reached the most pertinent part of the buyer persona—what motivates this representative customer’s interest in your company? How did he or she find out about you? What would it take to prompt this customer to make a purchase decision? What sort of content does he or she like to read?
Once you’ve developed your first buyer persona, you can go on to create as many others as you need for your full range of products and services. The more specific a picture you can create of your likely audience, the better able you will be to create and distribute content that they will respond to.
If you want to retain the audience that you attract, it’s imperative that you are able to provide plenty of smart, original content targeted to your readers’ interests. Coming up with this content on a regular basis, however, is no simple task. Pennington Creative can provide you with the custom content you—or your clients—need, from email newsletters to animated videos to blog posts. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today!