6 Steps for Success Using Personas in Content Marketing

‘Personas’ are semi-fictional profiles of commonly reoccurring customers. Utilizing this marketing tactic helps the marketing and sales people within your company get out of their own heads and into the mindset of a specific kind of customer. In doing this, you are able to consider how a customer sees you and your products. You are able to speak a language more familiar to that customer, and focus your time demonstrating how your products and services will help solve that customer persona’s specific problems.This process also helps define the various customer types that buy your products or services. Once defined, each persona needs to have a specific content marketing initiative tailored to them. Successful marketing strategies begin with the persona and build outward from there.

The following is a 6 step process you can use create, execute and measure the effectiveness of Persona-driven content marketing in your campaigns:

1. Define your persona(s)

  • Analyze your existing customers
  • Look for similarities in customer types
  • Segment out repeating characteristics to help shape your personas

Example:

Persona Name: Holly Humansky
(pick a fun or creative name. This persona is in Human Resources)
Title: Director or Manager, Human Resources
Company Industry: Technology
Years of Experience: 8-15
Gender Split: 80% Female. 20% Male.
Responsibilities:
 -Manages small team of HR professionals
-Manages an annual budget
-Tasked with ongoing professional development of existing employees
-Create a positive work environment that retains talent
-Ensure employees are properly trained for workplace compliance
Challenges Faced: 
-Small team has to quickly on-boarding and train personnel in a high turnover environment.
-Any changes in budget spending has to be approved by a CFO who is all analytical
-Needs to demonstrate her personal value to the company
-High quality talent is often recruited away by higher pay offers
-Employees frustrated with lack of internal professional growth opportunities
Sources of Industry News:
– Society of Human Resource Management
– The Achievers Employee Engagement Platform
– Human Resource Publications
– HR Symposium of the Bay

2. Develop marketing tactics that speak to your persona(s) in a relatable language

  • Familiarize yourself with topics of concern to this persona
  • How would your persona speak to collogues?
  • What terms are common in their field?
  • What common issues are brought up as problems to be overcome and pay attention to the words they use to describe them (especially acronyms or abbreviated terms. These show you speak their language).
  • What industry articles, news and information would this persona find helpful?
  • Create a plan for original creation of, or syndication of content that will help this persona
  • Find a way to connect your product or service to these content works so they connect you as being a way to help solve their problems

3. Place or distribute your marketing tactics in places that will engage your customer targets based on how that persona consumes content

  • Deliver these popular content works via E-mail and on your web site:
  • Articles
  • White Papers
  • Videos
  • Info Graphics
  • Webinars
  • Tip & Tricks
  • Best Practices

4. Measure the effectiveness of your content

  • Use Marketing Automation systems (Pardot, HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, etc.) to monitor consumption of these content works.
  • Assign lead score values to the content. Track consumption over time.
  • Look for trends: What content is most consumed by those that become customers?
  • Rank these successful content works as higher value.
  • Conduct surveys that ask your target personas what they have found valuable and ask for suggestions to improve

5. Do more of what works, less of what doesn’t

  • Continue doing more of what drives sales and positive feedback
  • Discontinue tactics that plateau or perform negatively

6. Refine persona(s) based on your learnings.

  • (Back to step one and repeat the cycle)

Sophisticated digital marketers will measure the content consumed by your personas (now actual target customers in digital marketing campaigns), watch which ones are consumed more by customers who buy, and focus on creating more content like that. You get smarter over time, and your percentage of won business should increase over time as well.

Now What?

Use the 6-steps above to create a persona for every type of customer you have. Often you will find there are differences within each broad Persona, especially the ‘Challenges Faced’ section, that differ by Industry type. For example, another HR Director in a retail industry may face problems associated with the high cost of risk management, law suits resulting from safety infractions, and workers compensation due to on-the-job-injuries. These are all key areas that may be addressed by your product offering in very different ways than the challenges faced by the technology company’s HR Director.

Create a Content Marketing program for each persona and create regular content focused on how your product solves the Persona’s challenges using language and terminology specific to that Persona. Make these content pieces the topics of your blog posts, email blasts, case studies, videos, etc.

Stay the Course! This is a marathon, not a sprint. You will see success over months and years of this practice, and you will get better at it over time. Do more of what works, less of what doesn’t, and stay open to be inspired by the learnings that come to you along the way.

 

Ready for some help elevating your Digital Marketing with this kind of persona-driven content marketing?

Ask Deal Design how we can help.

 

Terra Deal

Author Terra Deal

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