April 6, 2015 Filament Content Specialist

How to Write Smarter Content Using Buyer Personas

How can you use buyer personas to create smarter content? We’re so glad you asked! This post aims to answer that very question. But before we get started, what do we mean by “buyer persona” and “smarter content”?

Let’s start with buyer personas. HubSpot offers a useful definition: “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” Buyer personas are specific and detailed portraits or profiles of people within your target audience that tell the full story about how and why a buyer makes a buying decision.

Smarter content is content that works harder because it’s directed specifically to your target audience. You can’t speak to everyone. And why would you want to? “Everyone” isn’t your potential customer. (If you disagree, please read this and this.) Before you can create this smart content, you need to identify who you’re speaking to, and your buyer personas give you the info you need.

Don’t have complete buyer personas? You can start creating smarter content today by using what you do know about your customers from your interactions thus far and then tweaking later as your buyer personas come into better focus. (You’ll be tweaking later even if you do have thorough buyer personas since they’re dynamic, not static.) Don’t wait until you have the perfect buyer personas to start creating content. Start with what you know and refine your approach as you go based on the data you track. More on that later.

Now a few helpful tips to take your content from “It’s all Greek to me” to “You’re speaking my language”:

Content

What’s the content of your content? That is, what is your content going to be about? Often the most successful content provides a solution to a problem that your customers are facing. Your buyer personas are key here because they give you major clues about what those problems are. What do they need help with? What do they care about? What are their values? This info provides you with a wealth of topics to start creating content about.

As you plan subjects for your content, remember Marcus Sheridan‘s four principles of content marketing: Listen, Communicate, Teach, Help. If you’re doing these four things as they relate to your buyer personas, you’re well on your way to producing content that speaks to your target audience.

Wording

Once you know who your customers are, you can begin to identify what language they speak in order to create the content that speaks to them. We’re not talking literally here but on the level of diction. The word “diction” comes from Latin dictio(n-), from dicere meaning ‘to say.’ When we’re talking about diction, we’re talking about what people say. Are you writing your content with the words that your buyer personas speak? If not, start now.

Put another way (like by way of the dictionary), diction refers to “the choice and use of words and phrases in speech or writing.” If you’re a B2B content marketer, the language used by your buyer personas can be considerably different than that used by the buyer personas of B2C content marketers. What type of language do your buyer personas use? Do they use jargon related to an industry? Is their diction more conversational than formal? What words do they use to describe your product?

Form

Smarter content marketing isn’t only about what you say and how you say it, but also in what form your content takes. Do your customers prefer long-form content such as white papers and e-Books? Or will you fill their needs better by creating videos and other visual content made available to them via social media? Your buyer personas are key to answering these questions accurately.

(Lucky for you, we recently wrote a useful little post about how to create great visual content, which you can use as a resource for creating your own. In fact, check out our archives for lots of great tips on producing and distributing different types on content.)

Context

That’s right. You can find out where to put your content with your buyer personas, too. Where do your customers prefer to consume their content? Social media? Email newsletters? Tweets? Focus your content marketing strategy on the channels your buyer personas prefer.

Track It & Tweak It

Once you’ve created content based on the above tips, put it out there and track how your customers engage with it. Then, use this data to adjust your buyer personas and keep improving your content.

Understanding your buyers is a critical first step toward developing a content marketing strategy. Buyer personas give you a map toward creating valuable content—content that converts, content that’s relevant enough to be shared again and again. Keep your customer on top of mind in every piece of content you produce, from blog posts to status updates to tweets to videos to images.

Check back with us on Wednesday to read about using buyer personas in email segmentation and personalization. And get in touch with Filament to learn more ways you can use buyer personas to create an effective content marketing plan.

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