Marketing personas are a simple, powerful way for content marketing teams to better understand, engage and impact their customers. But how do you use them (or ideal customer profiles) to create content?
There are lots of ways to create marketing personas. Most involve some degree of research, analysis and grouping by an underlying organizational framework like use cases, pain points, journey maps, life stages, lifestyle choices, occupations, buying triggers, group affiliations, specific behaviors, etc.
The process of creating marketing personas is part art, part science, and the goal is not to represent every single one of your customers in complete detail, but to come up with composites that represent the key customer segments you target.
From an overall business perspective, buyer personas provide three primary benefits:
They get everyone on the same page, moving in the same direction, heading toward the same destination.
From a content marketing perspective, these benefits are even more concrete:
Buyer personas inspire new content
Buyer personas help you better utilize existing content
When you create content that reflects both the features, benefits and value prop of your product or service and the needs, drives, wants, desires, and behavioral tendencies of your customers, you win.
(Note: If you’re playing biz-lingo bingo, note the Venn diagram and please accept our apologies for this necessary evil.)
How does that work in the real world?
There are lots of different ways to package up marketing personas, but most include some kind of personality summary, core needs and core drives.
A good summary helps you get started by making it easier for you to visualize your audience i.e. who you are creating content for
Needs and drives help you figure out what your key takeaway(s) should be i.e. what your targets ultimately internalize; the unspoken “promise” your product or service makes with users
Some marketing personas go much further, using various methods to identify additional associated traits, behaviors and characteristics.
Social media insights can help you determine which platforms to use and what content to share on them
Narrative preferences can help you find the right voice and structure, and decide which support points you should include
Themes — though usually more universal in nature — can be invaluable in trying to figure out which feature and benefits to emphasize
Beyond helping to inspire new content, marketing personas can help you more effectively target your existing content, too.
The same insights that help you set voice, tone, structure, theme, takeaways, etc. can serve as a filter for stuff you’ve already created, giving you specific parameters you can use to separate content that “fits” (and is likely to resonate with specific buyers), from content that doesn’t (and isn’t likely to resonate).
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