Let’s face it: Buyer personas, which are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers, should be the foundation of your content strategy (if they are not already).
Their importance cannot be overstated!
Companies may think “I know who my ideal customer is — inside and out,” but have you sat down with all appropriate parties and put a strategic document together outlining key information about your buyer persona?
This information includes:
- Titles — What are their positions/titles?
- Industries/Markets — What industries/markets do they work in?
- Location — Where are they located?
- Goals — What goals do they have?
- Pain points and challenges — Any general pain points or challenges they have? And the problem they are trying to solve by looking at potential vendors (you)?
- Communication — How does this person typically interact with your company?
- Objections — What objections, if any, do they have concerning your company? Or, with vendors like you in general?
- Marketing message — How are you going to market to them?
Taking the time to think about each of these items and addressing them in a detailed strategic document can be invaluable. In addition, make sure to put a face and name with your buyer persona to humanize it and make it more personal!
What Is a Content Strategy?
What is a content strategy? Justin McGill describes it well in a HubSpot blog article:
Content strategy refers to the management of pretty much any tangible media that you create and own: written, visual, downloadable ... you name it. It is the piece of your marketing plan that continuously demonstrates who you are and the expertise you bring to your industry.
In a nutshell, a content strategy is about understanding:
- What you are creating
- How you’re going to create it
- Who you are creating it for
- How you plan to execute it
Beyond that, ongoing management with your content is key. You don’t want to execute your content and then leave it alone. You have to continuously monitor and optimize to ensure your content is consumed the way it should be by your prospects.
Why Buyer Personas Must Be Considered When Developing Content
Putting together high quality, targeted content is not easy or quick. It can take a lot of work to fully execute a blog post, content offer (ebook, infographic, overview document, etc.) and video to name a few.
It’s easy to say that you’re going to speak to everyone with each piece of your content, but that can’t work for everything. Yes, there are some pieces of content where you can successfully speak to your general audience such as a company brochure or company video.
However, if you are speaking to multiple personas (and other audiences), you want to make sure that you still address key information, pain points, and challenges that your personas need to know.
Blog posts, for example, should be targeted to a specific persona. This way you can really speak to them and address their specific pain points and challenges. Also, they may prefer different topics than other personas.
Here at Bluleadz, we put together monthly editorial calendars for our clients, and part of this process is determining what buyer persona each article is going to speak to and how we are going to message to them.
Targeting your content to your ideal customers gives you the opportunity to speak directly to your target audience to address the issues they want to solve.
Keep the Buyer’s Journey in Mind When Developing Content
As we’ve discussed, buyer personas should be the foundation of your content strategy. Beyond this, it’s important to understand that your buyer personas need to consume different types of content in each stage of the buyer’s journey before they are ready to do business with you.
You shouldn’t create content without knowing where in the funnel the content is going to live. To figure out the appropriate stage your target audience is in, ask yourself the following:
- Is your ideal customer in the very beginning stages of doing research on what their problem/challenge is (awareness stage)?
- Have they identified what their problem/challenge is and are they identifying possible solutions to mitigate and solve it (consideration stage)?
- Have they identified the approach they want to take to solve their problem/challenge and are they researching possible vendors/solutions (decision stage)?
Your prospects have different questions they are trying to answer in each stage of the buyer’s journey, as well as different thoughts and ideas they are trying to contemplate and understand. You shouldn’t have content that is only for the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) or top of the funnel (TOFU) prospects.
You want to make sure to strike a healthy balance so you are getting the prospect’s attention when it matters most (which, we know, is a very hard thing to do these days).
We’ve covered a lot in the post, but the key takeaways to remember are as follows:
- You should create a strategic document that outlines key information on who each of your buyer personas is. These will be the foundation of your content strategy.
- Create your content strategy (which will evolve) and be well-disciplined to execute on it properly. Part of this is understanding exactly who you are speaking to with each piece of content.
- Develop the right content to speak to your buyer personas in each stage of the buyer’s journey. Your personas consume different types of content depending on where they are in their journey. Have a healthy mix of content for each stage — use this content to grab your prospects’ attention when it matters most.