Buyer personas are an incredibly valuable tool to have in your content marketing kit — as long as you actually know how to use them. Think of it this way: You can invest in a top-of-the-line power drill, but it’s still not going to do its job if you use it like a hammer.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the 4 steps of using buyer personas to structure your content creation efforts.
Questions to ask before you start
Before you even begin putting pen to paper, you need to consolidate your key insights into how your personas find information and make purchase decisions. This will determine what you write, how you write it, and where you share it.
1. What does their buyer’s journey look like?
When your persona is facing a problem, how do they research possible solutions? What criteria do they use to decide on a course of action? Your personas are looking for content that directly addresses their problems.
2.What type of content is most useful to them?
Does your persona enjoy reading long-form articles? Or do they have a shorter attention span and prefer brief bulleted lists? Or are they visual learners?
As the saying goes, “the medium is the message.”
Depending on what your audience needs, how you package your content can have a profound impact on its effectiveness.
3. Where does this persona find their content?
What are your personas’ favorite news sources and social media platforms? How do they keep up-to-date with news in their industry? Make it easy for your personas to find your content by metaphorically bringing it to their doorstep.
When your personas search for content online, what they’re really looking for is an answer to a problem they’re facing. Think about the way you use a search engine: You’re usually looking for information you don’t already know.
In other words, for your personas to care about your content, your content must relate to their immediate needs and concerns.
For this to happen, you have to identify the biggest challenges they’re facing, as well as the process they’d use to overcome those challenges. This is where your understanding of their buyer’s journey (as mentioned earlier) comes in.
This is also the time to figure out what your personas’ biggest objections to buying from you—whether it’s because of your sales process, or because what you’re offering doesn’t exactly align with their needs.
Your content should address this question: How does my product or service help resolve a challenge my persona is facing?
Speak their language
Language is a powerful tool that helps differentiate the insiders from the outsiders. And no, we don’t mean English versus Spanish — it’s all about word choice.
For example, let’s look at two theatre companies who are looking to fill several roles in an upcoming production. They’ve sent out the following invitation to their actors:
Company A: “Sign up today to try out for our show in the fall! Please prepare to read the following lines out loud. Bring your resume and a photo of yourself.”
Company B: “Sign up today to audition for our fall mainstage! Please prepare the following sides. Bring your resume and headshot.”
Spoiler alert: Company B is going to receive more qualified responses than Company A. Quite simply, thanks to its use of industry jargon, Company B just sounds more professional.
By using industry-focused keywords and the appropriate writing tone — in short, when you sound like an industry insider — you gain credibility and authority. You’re showing your visitors that you know who they are.
Insiders vs outsiders: One of these is not like the other.
Fully exploit your content options
When creating content, it can be tempting to stick to the format you know best, or to wrap up a topic after you’ve produced the best eBook ever about it.
Don’t make your personas work harder than they’re prepared to. After all, they may not always have the time to read a comprehensive 50-page eBook.
Blog posts target people who are only just beginning to ask Google about their doubts.
Longer content offers (think worksheets or eBooks), appeals to people who already find your perspective authoritative, as they’re more likely to commit to reading a longer piece of content.
Email workflows nurture existing relationships, connecting you directly to your prospects or customers.
Whether by repurposing old content or publishing across different mediums, changing up the way you present your content can pay huge dividends. Your visitors will be more inclined to engage with content that’s tailored to meet their needs.
Need more help crafting effective content targeted at the way your buyer personas make purchase decisions? We can help. At Sprk’d, we specialize in using buyer personas to guide our content creation efforts — contact us today.