Importance of User Personas in Content Marketing
When writing marketing content for a product, service, or brand, you must first determine your target audience. Who are you selling to? Countless times, marketers make the mistake of creating content that fails to engage or influence the readers which can result in disastrous sales numbers. They neglect to speak directly to the target that will actually buy what the business is offering.
Is this you?
No worries, it has happened to all of us at least once, I’m sure, but the good news is that there is a certain magic to creating compelling marketing content that intrigues and sells directly to the target audience, and it is called user personas.
Before diving into the understanding aspect of user personas, let’s first find out exactly what it is. A user persona is a fictional character used to represent a target audience. Although these characters are fictional, their created lifestyles are realistic for the sake of writing content that pertains specifically to those who possess the lifestyle as the user persona you’ve created. Marketing guys are famous for coming up with the coolest and weirdest names for their user personas, like Hurricane Mike, the lawyer, and Sell Out Tony, the salesman. Below are some examples of common personas used in today’s marketing content in order to win over the audience, and sell to them.
- A 43-year-old man who lives in Washington, D.C., as a Civil Engineer
- 12 years in the profession
- Graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
- Married, with two kids – two boys (12 and 18)
As a civil engineer, the work day is in high demand of much planning, designing, contract writing, overseeing construction projects, creating proposals, and meeting with clients. A brain-wrecking job, true, but it allows his wife and kids the luxury of a $350,000 home. He takes in over 100,000/yr and the money puts a huge smile on his face, even after 12 years. The job is ok, but he enjoys the money more.
Many buying decisions are left up to the civil engineer, while the project manager plays a huge role in budgeting and negotiating estimates. A reputable civil engineer will always look for the highest quality wood, clay, concrete, and structural steel for the projects and is peculiar about material quality, such as improper drying (seasoning) and handling of wood, cracks, gas holes, casting powder, and entrapment of structural steels.
Charles might use keywords in the Google search engine like “building material auctions near me”, “Allied building material” and “resource building material”. He prefers to speak to his customers through Facebook, where he has created a business page for his brand. He uses his iphone 98% of the time to message his customers. The only time he has to use the internet is during working hours. He checks the internet about 20 times throughout the workday. Besides the Facebook website, he also visits the Washington post, CADdigest.com, ESPN.com, Ebay, and Amazon. When he gets home, he is a full-time dad – checking homework, having father and son talks – maybe even playing some video games/watching a show or two – talking with the wife, and then it’s off to bed.
This is an example of a fictitious persona created to engage a civil engineering audience. This same criterion can be used for any profession. As long as you know what to plug into the persona – what questions to answer- your content will be sufficient in the information needed so that your readers can appreciate it. Here is another example, but in a different style:
He works as a professional accountant – $32,000/year salary, 32 years old, single, with an eight-year-old daughter. He lives in an 800 sq. ft. apartment and his rent is $1350/m with all utilities included. He enjoys taking his daughter out of the country to various locations throughout Europe and Africa. Every morning, he goes out to a cafe for coffee and a bagel while reading the day’s paper, preferably the funnies and the sports section. He enjoys rock and country music.
When shopping online, he checks three to four different sites before buying; he checks for the best prices and the best reviews. He will not buy anything online unless the seller or the product has at least a 4.5 out of 5 star satisfaction rating. He is quick to purchase a product that has been seen with or on a famous athlete or celebrity. He could care less if the seller is out of the United States.
He commonly uses Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to communicate with friends and to show off his lifestyle, especially the trips with his daughter. He spends at least two hours a day on social media.
He enjoys Danishes, tea, and reading PCmag. He is always updated on the newest technology. If he is out in public and gets a glimpse of an item that he likes, which is owned by someone else, like a watch, a car, clothes, or even an ink pen, and he hasn’t seen it before, he will ask the person about the item and he’ll want to know where they purchased it.
Below are some questions that you can ask yourself when creating your own user persona.
1. What are the demographic factors?
2. What is their job title?
3. What industry do they work in?
4. What is their length of employment?
6. Do they have college education?
7. Do they make the buying decision?
8. If not, who makes that decision?
9. How far along are they in their buying decision process?
10. What questions will they have before making a purchase?
11. What are some of their worries before buying?
12. How do they search online for your product or service?
13. What social network sites do they use?
14. How much time do they spend online a day?
15. When do they have time to spend online?
16. What are some hobbies they have?
17. Do they have family?
18. If so, how many kids?
19. What do they like to do for fun?
20. How sensitive are they to trends?
21. Do they like coffee or tea, donuts, or Danishes?
Once you’ve created a user persona, you are now in business and you actually have an audience to sell to. You will be able to communicate your content directly to the reader in a way that makes them feel like you’re talking to them. This will motivate them to stay on your page. They will feel appreciated, comfortable, and satisfied… your content will be compelling. Good luck!