In a previous blog, I wrote about the many hats that a content editor wears. Content editors double up as project managers and that role entail many tasks, such as ideation, reviewing copy, writing editorial briefs. But at the beginning of every project is answering the question — who is your customer?

Buyer persons are incredibly crucial for effective content marketing. What is content marketing, after all? Simply, it is delivering the right message to the right targeted audience. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all content. Whatever the aim of your content, brand awareness, selling products or services, you will meet your goals only if your content flips a switch in the person reading or watching it. 

You don’t want your audience to feel that you’re forcing content on them; they should want to read it. This can make all the difference to any inbound marketing programme and ultimately lead to higher ROI for your marketing dollars.

[Body Copy]

Here are a few essential tips for creating actionable buyer personas. 

1 Start with research

Speak to some of your client’s potential customers. No large budget for surveys? No problem. Work with what you have.

  • Speak to customers on the telephone
  • Create a survey on email
  • Go through your contact database to try and find how people are consuming your content
  • Chat with your client’s customer service or sales managers to see if something useful jumps out.

2. Look beyond the demographics

It’s important to get the demographics right — such as age, income and size of family — but interests and hobbies are equally important. Find out about the customers’ jobs, their challenges and ambitions. Ask for more than just the demographics.

  • What are your hobbies?
  • What kind of work do you do?
  • What is your work title?
  • What is the biggest pain-points in your job?
  • What do you enjoy the most in your job? 

We also deploy IMMediate, our proprietary AI/ML MarTech platform, to identify audience preferences to define a data-driven content strategy. In many ways, identifying these personas across markets using traditional manual methods may not be as effective. Read more about IMMediate here.

3. Create a character sketch

Put the person back in persona!

Once you have all the research, build a composite character sketch. A “day-in-the-life” is a good way to accomplish such a sketch.

[MOU1] 

4. Consolidate your research in a template

There are enough free templates on the web that you can use to create such a character sketch. For example, Hubspot and the Content Marketing Institute have ready-to-use templates.

Here’s a sample of a persona sketch from Hubspot.

Timeline

Description automatically generated
Timeline

Description automatically generated

How many should you create? Not too many and not too few. Be very clear about the differentiators between each persona.

5. Think about content preferences

Once you have your personas defined, think about what kind of content would your audience like?   Is it a blog, or a whitepaper with detailed research? Or would the message be best digested through a podcast? Perhaps more than one kind of format.

While thinking of the content formats, think of style and tone. You would cater the same message to different personas — a lively tone for the younger audience and a more steady, serious one for the older persona.