Creating an Effective Persona for your Content Marketing Strategy
An effective persona is crucial to the success of a content marketing strategy. Read here to discover why, and get started creating yours successfully.
Published: 02 Nov 2020
5 minutes read
We’ve previously discussed the reasons why you need a buyer persona and how they form the foundation of a strong B2B content marketing strategy. There’s just one question left to answer and a rather important one at that:
What actually needs to be included in a persona?
A well-developed persona should inform every element of your strategy, which helps your content resonate with your target audience and solve their pains. If your current persona doesn’t help you to meet these goals, it’s time to revisit the drawing board.
A persona should be based on real customers and prospects, not educated guesses
A common mistake B2B businesses make when developing a persona is focusing more on their ideal customers, not their actual customers. While we all have our ‘dream’ customers, marketing works best when it is grounded in reality and is targeted towards prospects who have a proven history of engaging with your company and converting into leads.
This is why customer research is so important. In order to create an informed persona, you need to gain a first-hand insight into your customers’ behaviour and pains, as well as what they like and dislike about your company. As a marketer, this may be difficult for you to achieve, as in most instances you won’t have much engagement with customers. This is where your customer-facing team members are extremely useful, such as sales, customer service directors and implementation consultants. These types of employees will be able to tell you vital information about your typical customers that will help you identify patterns and similarities among your customer base, aiding persona development.
But don’t base personas on actual individuals
While you may (and should) have a few key customers in mind when developing personas, remember: there is being specific and then there is being exclusive.
Never develop a persona that is based on an actual customer or client. A persona is meant to be a semi-fictional representation of your typical customers – not a biography! If you choose to create a persona that is focused too much on one person a major issue can arise. For example, this customer may be unusual and so won’t be a true representation of your prospects. Content could therefore end up being too tailored to this one particular prospect and fail to resonate with the bulk of your audience.
Keep in mind, your personas should generalise the broad pains, roles, behaviours and attitudes that are consistently displayed by your prospects.
Focus on job role rather than job title
This is a very simple, but essential point to touch upon. In many instances, a persona’s job title is irrelevant. This is because titles are rarely consistent business to business. While an operations director in one company may be in charge of meeting business targets and managing finances, in another, they be more intertwined with sales and marketing.
Job roles, however, helps you think more about your persona’s key responsibilities, functions, challenges and how they measure success within their day-to-day working life. This helps you to create content that is more capable of accurately solving persona pains.
Think about your persona’s challenges and pains
Remember, the B2B prospect is a lot different to B2C. Rather than making a purchase on impulse, they are seeking a solution to a specific problem they are experiencing. It’s your job to identify this problem and create content marketing that presents your service as a solution.
Let’s take a persona who is in charge of an engineering firm’s finances as an example. His biggest pain may be lack of security and visibility. With this knowledge, we can assume that his buying motivation will be to find a product that enables him to implement complete visibility. An IT reseller who sells ERP finance software can therefore cater their content marketing strategy to this pain, offering their ERP software as the solution.
Don’t overlook the finer details
Demographical information such as hobbies, personality, education level, age, job history and salary may seem less important in comparison to key persona features such as goals, challenges and pains. However, these details will heavily influence the content you write, as well as the way you present it.
For example, a 50-year-old persona who has worked at his business since finishing college, may be wary of new software and technology. With this insight, you will be able to target this persona with easier-to-digest, informative B2B content marketing without technical jargon that could turn off this particular persona.
On the other-hand, a persona in his early 20s who has recently finished a university course studying a tech-focused subject will be much more receptive to new technology, and will understand and even expect technical jargon.
Looking to put your new found knowledge to use? You’re in luck! Click on the banner below to get your free step-by-step guide to creating effective personas.