According to Moz, as much as 37% of business owners spend somewhere between $10,000 to a whopping $50,000 a month generating back links. A feeble attempt to influence search engine deities to cast them some ranking favors? Maybe.
But when Pandas and Penguins crack down on spammy and low quality links, business owners and digital marketers who cling to the past should rethink their strategies and focus on “earning” links and not link building in the traditional sense.
This puts content marketing back in the spotlight. Great content marketing is giving value to your targeted audiences – what they like, desire or need – and you get rewarded by Google for doing so. But how can you tell if your content is attuned to their needs, lifestyle focus and buying motivations?
This is where the marketing concept called Buyer Personas can take center stage. The concept goes beyond merely categorizing targeted audiences according to their demographics information. Taking an in-depth look into Buyer Personas means filling in your targeted audiences shoes and looking at your content marketing strategy from their perspective.
Buyer Personas and Your Content Marketing Strategy
Creating Buyer Personas means clearly identifying what, how and why a particular type of audience will like and consume your content – and this stems from understanding the motivation of real content consumers. It means understanding their existing knowledge about your content, reasons why they would be interested, their expectations, key touch points and other concerns that will motivate or prevent them from consuming your content.
Creating Buyer Personas is not just a simple exercise of creating a list of descriptions that you think accurately defines who your targeted audiences are. It involves profiling your audiences according to in-depth demographic and behavioral information so you can create the right kind of content that they will be interested in or – even better – influence them to take the next step towards conversion as leads or customers.
To put it in simple terms: if you’re creating materials for the wrong kind of targeted audience – no one will ever consume your content. You may get lucky though and generate some kind traffic from your content – but not from the right of audiences you would like to attract.
So, creating good and accurate Buyer Personas is a critical step in your content marketing strategy that will enable you to create better, more valuable and more meaningful content that your targeted audiences will like, desire or need.
Insights that Influence Buyer Behavior
When working with Buyer Personas for your content marketing strategy, you need to have a clear understanding of the various aspects and other attributes that will influence the content consumption behavior of your targeted audiences. A great guide from the Buyer Persona Institute provides a practical overview on this, calling them the 5 Rings of Buying Insight for Buyer Personas namely:
- Priority Initiatives – an insight that will help you understand the personal reasons and other circumstances that will make your targeted audiences spend time and resources to consume your content
- Success Factors – an insight that will help you understand the expectations and perceived benefits your targeted audiences have or are looking forward to when they read your content
- Perceived Barriers – an insight that will help you understand the barriers, incapacities, misconceptions and other potential hindrances that will make targeted audiences lose interest in your content
- Buyer’s Journey – an insight that will help you understand where your targeted audiences are in the buying process so you can create more appropriate content that will induce or influence them to take the next favorable step
- Decision Criteria – an insight that will help you understand certain aspects in your content – that your targeted audiences perceive as important – that make it stand out from other content providers
General Classifications of Buyer Personas
With the humongous diversity in industry niches, business focuses and their corresponding targeted audiences, just imagine the number of Buyer Personas and customer profiles that can be generated from all these. It can be very confusing even if you put all your efforts in it.
On top of that, trying to create all Buyer Personas that can be identified can actually be detrimental to your content marketing campaign, as you may lose focus and precise targeting on audiences and prospects that really matter.
It’s a great thing guides are available on how you can classify the types of Buyer Personas that you can use, like these practical ones described by persona marketing pioneer Bryan Eisenberg:
- Competitive – these are audiences that know exactly what their goals and needs are and would need not much coaxing and convincing once they see the content they want
- Spontaneous – audiences like these respond quickly to content that makes use of visual elements as well as advice or reviews by other people to drive their emotions and influence their consumer decisions
- Humanist – these are audiences that are similar to the spontaneous persona but rely more on the advice, reviews and recommendations of other people before they make a consumer decision. These are also the types of audiences where their relationship to a content provider will matter heavily in their consumption behavior
- Methodical – If you rely on special offers and promos to entice your audiences, this persona is not for you as audiences like these will take time to study and weigh things logically and methodically after doing further research before they make a consumer decision
It is important to note at this point that this outline from Bryan is just a guide and not sacrosanct when it comes to creating Buyer Personas. Nevertheless, it provides a good starting point where you can develop your own set of Buyer Personas that would work well within your business niche and target market.
Buyer Personas is an important aspect in your content marketing strategy as well as in digital marketing as a whole. Developing accurate and effective Buyer Personas will put a face on your specific targeted audiences, allowing you to deliver the right kind of content to audiences that matter – faster, more targeted, and more effective in getting better content marketing results.