Everything that we do today should be audience led, ‘going to where your audience is‘ isn’t a bad mantra to live by. I mean, it’s great if we can get prospects and customers engaged on our website or on our social platform, but if they’re hanging out elsewhere online shouldn’t we try and speak to them there as well?

But going to them is only half the job – we need to go to them with meaningful content using messages that will peak their interest and via a channel where they want to engage with you.

Do you have marketing personas?

A little while ago my colleague Tom Crewe, highlighted some great ways that you can get to know your customers a little better in his blog Get To Know Your Audience For Targeted SEO Strategies. In his blog he outlined some fantastic ways that you can acquire some really interesting insight into who’s interested in your brand and who’s on your social platforms and website so that you can begin going to them. But what's next?

How to use audience knowledge

So now you have gathered some valuable information about your audience what do you do? A great way to start is to actually give your audience a face and a name alongside relevant information by building some personas.

What can a persona help with?

  • Determining what kind of content you need
  • Setting the tone, style, and delivery strategies for your content
  • Targeting what topics you should be writing about
  • Understanding where customers get their information from and how they want to consume it

A persona is a fictional character created through insight of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing they are essential to ensure that you are creating great content that will be pertinent and valuable to your audience.

At Adido, our personas include analysis and detail around:

  • Demographics - age, location
  • Background - job title, family/marital status
  • Description - how would they describe themselves
  • Tone of voice
  • Likes/interests
  • Brand associations
  • Bio - motivations and digital capabilities
  • How we can help them achieve their goals
  • What they will be thinking
  • What they will be saying
  • What will we say to convince them
  • How will they convert

What's included in personas

The personas that we create at Adido include demographics, background, likes and interests and brand associations as well as information about how we (or our clients) can help their customers achieve their goals and how they may convert. We also name all of our personas and assign a face so that we can really picture the persona when creating content for them.

So how many of these personas do you need to create?

This totally depends on the size of your business. As a small or medium sized business you won't be able to hit everyone so you'll want to tackle just one persona. Who Buys Your Stuff? look to understand your customers to build a better audience through customer research. Based on the principle that for SMEs 62% of sales come from 20% of customers, they look to introduce brands to their lead persona saying that businesses need to find the customer profile that is contributing to the majority of a business’s revenue. The value of finding this one lead persona puts you in a great position to deliver the right messaging and increase engagement which will in turn lead to increased sales and a better ROI.

What about bigger customers?

As a business gets bigger you'll be in a position where you'll be able to branch out and target more people and may therefore need more personas - businesses of this size could need anywhere between 3 - 5 persons. This way they will be able to create content that's targeted enough to succeed yet diverse enough to suit the different audience groups that you need to reach through some truly unique and high quality content.

Think about your lead persona

If you do have multiple personas it's always wise to consider a primary persona, this primary persona must be someone who is both important to the business success of the brand but can also influence your other personas. You can then prioritise your messaging for this persona where needed.

Share your personas with other departments

A persona is an extremely powerful tool for everyone in your business – it should be used shape everything you do as a marketer so you no longer have to shoot in the dark to work out what you should be saying and who you should be saying it to. It can also ensure that subjective views and opinions aren’t taken into account when multiple individuals are involved in a project as you can always go back to what the persona says and what their primary goals are detailed as.

You can go one step further by sharing the document with other departments such as the sales or HR department.

If members of your organisation are active on social media in particular then it’s worth ensuring that they have caught sight of exactly who your customers are so that everyone is sending a similar message.

Personas need to be updated

Remember, once you have built your persona/s it’s not simply a case of sitting back and putting your feet up. You’ll need to periodically review to see if they need tweaking to make them relevant.

Whether it’s blogging, campaign strategy and planning or web design there are so many different ways that you can use your personas, they can be the lynch pin of many a content campaign.

Top persona takeaways

  1. Build personas based on personal attributes such as demographic
  2. Develop them further to include information about how they buy and what they want to hear
  3. As a SME start with one super persona, as your business grows their may be a need for more personas but don't spread yourself too thinly
  4. If you do have multiple personas choose one primary lead persona – who if satisfied means others will also be the same
  5. Get sign-off from all stakeholders to ensure everyone agrees the personas built are accurate representations
  6. Create well designed crib sheets for each persona to sum up what you know about them
  7. Share your personas with all departments
  8. Once live keep them updated to ensure they remain relevant and useful

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