Content Marketing Personas
Personas are used in almost every department within an organization, from sales, product development to customer service, and of course marketing. Especially for the last, buyer persona creation helps you to guide the marketing team towards a customer-centric approach. By creating them, the team understands who the customers are in detail and how to approach them.
Creating marketing strategies and especially the content strategy around superficial target audiences is a common mistake.
Why am I highlighting content marketing here? Very simple: when you try to create the content for an audience sorely based on the same demographics you follow a one size fits all approach which is just not enough in today’s competitive environment. By targeting the people based on the same age, income, gender, location, etc. you miss the most important part – the needs, pain points, interests which help you to create the content that will trigger them to consider and buy your product.
To help you better understand I will demonstrate a scenario.
Download the 2 content marketing sample personas and have a closer look at them. Before you continue reading, undergo the exercise to think about how the information the personas contain could help you to create individual content marketing strategies for each of them.
A Swedish travel agency that sells packages of hotels and activities are facing the problem of missing international tourists due to the Corona Virus restrictions. They are now trying to win Swedish clients that are forced to look for destinations within their own country.
The following personas are facing the same need – find alternative travel destinations within Sweden. You will already recognize differences within the demographics, but even if they would be within the same target audience ( demographic overlap) the way they should be approached should be completely different because of the interests, pain points, etc.
Usage of content marketing personas
I will highlight 6 areas where content marketing personas will help you to become a better marketer.
Find them where they are
Finding the right platforms and finding them within these platforms is crucial for the success of your content marketing strategy. When you base your targeting on demographics only you will end up with a lot of noise, failing to deliver the content to the right people. The goal is to refine the targeting as well as the message as granular as possible to achieve a maximum of conversion, increase the relevance score, etc.
Interests are often a powerful way to dissect a target audience into smaller groups making them a good size for A/B testing. Also, the more information you can provide the easier it is for Facebook and Google to create Lookalike Audiences.
What are the needs and requirements
Identifying the real needs and point points and addressing them with your message is the first step to guide them through the different steps of the customer journey.
However, you should not stop by defining the need but to investigate the underlying motive that leads to the need.
Coming back to our 2 sample personas, we already agreed upon the fact that both have the same basic need of finding the right destination, however when looking closer to the profiles the requirements and motive to fulfill the need vary drastically.
For instance, Silvia has two kids and because of that, the need has to be fulfilled in kids and budget-friendly ways. Compare her situation with Alvin’s who usually travels the World and posts pictures from magnificent places, luxurious hotels, and extraordinary activities to boost his social media accounts. Both parties have the same desire and need for an extravagant holiday destination but with 2 completely different drivers.
Understanding the different triggers and motives behind the needs will allow you to create a story around the need that matches the individual characteristics. This leads us to the next part which is providing the right story in the right language.
The right story and the right tone
By addressing the need you might get their attention but in order to guide the prospects towards the consideration phase, the story and tone are decisive.
A simple message like “See our special vacation packages in Sweden” will not cut through the noise nor it will build confidence that your offer is exactly what they are striving for.
As an exercise, write down a few Headlines for each content marketing persona that you think would engage them.
Here are some examples addressing the motives behind the needs in the right language
For Alvin it could be something like
Time to combine luxury and adventure!
Check out this brand new luxury design hotel with breathtaking views close to the most prestigious wildwater rafting destination in Sweden.
For Silvia the tone and message should be different.
Sweden is special for you and your family!
Have a look at this kid’s friendly hotel surrounded by attractions beyond the ordinary that will make your family vacation unforgettable. Book within the next 24 hours and get 30% off!
The right visualization to support your message
Pictures sometimes say more than a thousand words, right? Make use of that when you create your content strategy. Use images that support the message you want to bring across and that align to the mood, emotions, and needs of your personas.
Answer the right questions
Analyzing the emotions and defining the Go to strategies are essential to provide the answers they want to hear. Let us look at Sylvia’s Emotions and Go to strategies :
- Spending a lot of money on a regular holiday
- Afraid to disappoint her sons
- Silvia is angry. Unspecifically angry how her world got turned upside down so fast, angry not to find something spectacular in Sweden. Angry at vendors trying to sell her the same old holiday.
- Information regarding different attractions and destinations besides the regular vacation in Sweden
- She is frustrated with the lack of highly unusual things to do during vacation and is desperately searching for something her kids’ friends haven’t already done.
- She has the feeling travel agencies just want to sell the usual destination.
In her case, once you have her attention you should provide answers that require her to make the purchase decision. Those should include
- Can I afford it?
- What makes this destination special?
- Is it suitable for kids?
- What activities are provided?
In Alvin’s case, the questions to be answered are totally different
Get the timing right!
Customers have different requirements while they move down the customer journey. Content marketing personas will help you to understand what information should be provided during which step. For example, Silvia needs to know from the beginning whether she can afford the destination and suitability for kids whereas Alvin requires answers about the uniqueness, infrastructure, and thrilling activities.
Summary of personas in content marketing
I hope we could demonstrate how crucial it is to create personas for your content strategy. One size fits all approaches are outdated. Of course, using data is essential to create these personas but it is worth the effort. Analyzing and understanding the prospects before you create your content strategy is key. Only if the content matches the individual characteristics and needs of the readers you will turn them into paying customers.