Simple Guide to Creating Profitable Personas
May 03, 2018
Content marketing personas are important - and they don't bite so here are a few tips to help you generate personas that drive great content.
What is a content marketing persona?
Think of a content marketing persona as a composite sketch of a target audience based on validated factors - known things rather than gut assumptions. And these content marketing persona will drive productive buyer engagement, also known as sales! Without these personas, you're guessing and though you might guess right...you might not. And since you have limited resources to generate maximum profitability, it really is best to take the time to gather the data you need to base decisions off known factors.
Imagine your director had one vision of your customer in their mind. And the people that report to that director had their own slightly different vision. Of course, the sales team has their own vision. As each of these people are involved in creating the content, developing the messaging and offers...they add their own unique vision. Then, at the end, you have something that partially appeals to the director, the director's team and sales but could be far off from what the customer wants or needs.
Content marketing personas are more than demographics
If you target the consumer market, it really helps to go beyond gender, age range, income range, marital status and kids in the home under 18-years of age. Hobbies, interests, media usage and preferences, decision-making process and selection criteria are extremely insightful. And if your target is the business market, you need to understand title, experience, aversion to risk, roles played in the gathering and analysis of information and other key insights.
Your Ideal Customer: B2B Style
What does your ideal customer look like? Act like? To build a picture of that person, give them a name and get answers to questions like these:
- What are their demographic characteristics?
- Job title/function
- Company size
- Length of employment/experience
- Relationship of their position with others in their department
- What goals does this persona want to accomplish?
- What challenges are the most frustrating/painful?
- What gaps might this persona be looking to fill to alleviate the frustration/pain?
- What might keep this persona from addressing those gaps/problems?
- Role in the decision-making process?
- Who/what might influence this persona - internally? Externally?
- Questions this persona might ask during the decision-making process?
Your Ideal Customer: B2C Style
In addition to demographics, what about...
- Hobbies and interests
- The role played in the type of decision necessary to acquire your products (convenience offering, shopping offering, specialty offering, unsought offerings.)
- Risk seeking? Risk adverse? Early adapter?
- Goals and motivations?
- Common objections?
There is no right or wrong content marketing persona
If you were to search Google right now using 'content marketing persona', you would have the usual 8 million or so results in under a full second.
To save you some time, here are a few I recommend.
- Quick and Dirty Guide for Creating Actionable Content Marketing Personas
- Why You Need A Persona-Based Content Marketing Strategy
- The Complete, Actionable Guide to Marketing Personas
- How to Create Buyer Personas for Your B2B Content Marketing
Just remember, this is about what works best for you so look around and get acquainted with the options then pick an approach that looks like it would be right for you. Give it a try and then modify it over time. Personas will change over time based on the fact that people change over time. Internal and external factors will cause shifts/changes - so this is an on-going process that you will adapt to over the years.
Pat McGraw helps organizations of all types (public and private, for-profit and non-profit) across a broad array of industries (education, technology, retail/e-commerce, services) develop more effective and efficient ways to attract and retain profitable customers. As head of DWS' Higher Education Services, Pat is responsible for helping colleges and universities achieve their adult enrollment goals with innovative program/service, pricing, and promotional strategies.Pat is a writer, public speaker, and college instructor focused on marketing strategy and tactics.