Content may be king, but really, it’s your audience who rules. As a creator, you need to understand who your audience is and how you can help them before you can devise your marketing strategy — the aim here is to engage and bring people to your website with compelling content.
Building audience personas is a great way to understand what your target market is looking for and better tailor your content to hook them. A persona is a fictional profile that represents your target customer, based on the research you conduct into your market. You could create a single persona to encapsulate your whole audience, or a handful if you want to appeal to a more varied audience.
These personas aren’t just for show; they can help inform your content strategy, guiding your decisions about topics to explore, formats to use, and language choices to set the right tone.
You’ve probably heard the term “persona-driven content strategy” in the marketing space. This term simply describes a strategy that uses focused audience research to make decisions about content. Your personas should be based on research related to common challenges or pain points, goals and motivations, and interests or hobbies. Since content marketing should be informative, entertaining, and useful, you can then create content to help your audience overcome those challenges, reach those goals, or enjoy those interests.
To create a content strategy based on personas, make sure to do the following:
- Start with some keyword research to understand what they’re searching for.
- Use these keywords and your audience research to decide on content themes for your website.
- Brainstorm some topics that will be engaging and interesting to these fictional people.
- Create an editorial calendar with columns for each theme/persona, then schedule posts for each topic in a regular publishing cadence.
- Ensure your headlines are targeted and specific to attract the right audience.
Let’s say your website is aimed at coffee lovers. You might have three personas:
Alice, the mom who works from home and needs a lot of energy
John, the university student holding down a part-time job while he studies
Alex, the young manager working in the city
Now, all three of those will have very different interests, but they all agree on coffee. A persona-driven content strategy for that website, then, would want to not only focus on how great coffee is, but how great it is for those specific people. That could mean creating articles on the best express take-away coffee for Alex, a comparison of home barista machines for Alice, and the joys of caffeine-fueled study sessions for John. All three of those articles fit the website, but they appeal to different audience types.
Or, maybe you’re selling bespoke stationery via an eCommerce site. You might have two characters: an office manager and a teacher. You can see how those two personas would have different content needs. To tailor your content to them, you could start planning a content calendar based on certain milestones, such as the beginning of the school year or an annual plugin-enabled planning season, for instance.
Remember, there is a lot of content out there. By listening to your audience and understanding what drives them, you can make sure your efforts hit the mark and help to establish trust in your brand.