There are a variety of opinions surrounding the actual definition of content marketing. Essentially, though, content marketing aims to create and distribute content that provides value to the reader. To accomplish this goal, the content must not only be relevant to what the reader is looking for but it must be engaging as well.
The relevancy you achieve is going to be largely influenced by your ability to land the content in front of your targeted audience. The engagement level of the content depends on how well you entice readers to leave feedback or follow through with a call-to-action (CTA).
A recent content marketing survey was conducted that focused on business to consumer (B2C) content. It was found that 37% of those surveyed expected an increase in their businesses’ content marketing budgets within the next 12 months. This expected increase is taking place because B2C marketers are finally realizing the true value of investing in content marketing campaigns. Survey respondents stated they saw value from content marketing through:
- Increased leads
- Increased audience engagement
- Increased sales revenue
- Decreased cost of acquiring new customers
Results from the survey give proof to the value of well-planned content. And while you may “think” your content is relevant to your audience, unless you’ve created buyer personas, you may be missing out on valuable opportunities to make true connections that result in improved engagement.
Creating Buyer Personas
Understanding your audience’s goals and concerns will help you create relevant content, and it is through the development of buyer personas that you can pinpoint these goals and concerns. Did you know websites that are geared toward specific personas are two to five times more effective? Also, consumers are 48% more likely to do business with a company that aligns its marketing tactics to buyer personas.
Creating a buyer persona is going to take a ton of research and it isn’t going to happen overnight. To determine how many personas you need in total, you need to identify your buyers and categorize them. Rob Peterson, a Business Grow community member, says that in his experience over 90% of your company’s sales will likely come from only three to four persona groups.
Two of the best places to start researching your buyers are through surveys and client interviews. Other valuable methods of research can include:
- Focus groups
- Ethnographic research
- Affinity mapping
If you have a CRM system, you can take a look at existing customer profiles and use analytics to find patterns in their “digital body language data.” Ideally, you will pull information from as many sources as possible to create your personas. If you pull data from only one source, your persona is going to be one-dimensional, and this will negatively impact your content marketing efforts.
The format that you store your personas in is completely up to you. Some marketers prefer Word documents while others like Excel spreadsheets. No matter the format you choose, it’s imperative that it be easily accessible and simple to understand so that your entire marketing team can use the data to create engaging content.
Here’s a good example of the elements that go into the development of quality buyer persona:
Example via Scripted
Knowing How to Use Buyer Personas to Increase Engagement
Your buyer personas will determine the tone and style of your content. They will also point you in the direction of where your audience finds and consumes information; these are the channels you need to distribute your content through (Facebook, Medium, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). Using the appropriate channels is the first step in increasing engagement because it ensures the content is being viewed by your intended audience.
Personas allow you to get very personal with your buyers. You can segment your audience according to their unique challenges and concerns, and then create content that will truly resonate. This content will prove to your audience that you understand their needs, and more importantly, that you have empathy and want to make their lives easier. As a result, email engagement is likely to go through the roof as well as lead generation. In fact, Hubspot posted an article revealing that when emails are targeted to a specific persona, this can boost the click-through rate by 16%.
Getting personal with your personas means you’re going to be speaking their language. You’ll be using examples and scenarios in your content that paint crystal-clear pictures of the challenges your audiences are facing. Let’s say your company provides travel services. Your primary buyer persona is a homeowner in his late 50s who loves to travel and is incredibly cautious with his money. Content topics that will truly resonate with this persona could be any of the following:
- Saving money on home utilities while out of town
- Best credit cards that provide traveling rewards
- Top places to travel with your grandkids
Content topics that won’t resonate with this persona would include:
- Top places to party in Cancun
- Using a cash advance to pay for a vacation
- Best ways to blow your rainy day stash
Increase Engagement With Buzzwords In Your Titles and Subheads that Appeal to Buyer Personas
As you create buyer personas, you need to take special note of any buzzwords that relate to them. Let’s use our example from above. Buzzwords you can use in titles and subheads that will appeal to this persona are:
- Cost cutting
- Saving money
- Lawn Care
Here are two examples of how you can sprinkle your titles and subheads with these buzzwords:
- Lawn Care Tips to Follow When Going On Vacation
- Saving Money On Utilities While Taking a Long Journey
- Cost-cutting Tips for Eating Out When Taking a Road Trip
If you would like advice on creating high-performing titles for your blog postings, make sure to check out this post on HubSpot.
Provide Answers to the Exact Questions Your Buyer Personas Are Asking
You’re going to notice a huge increase in engagement when you provide answers to the exact questions your buyer personas are asking. Say, for example, one of your buyer personas is a marketer facing three challenges:
- Obtaining quality content
- to increase lead generation
- at an affordable price.
You need to think of questions that this persona is typing into Google, like:
- Where can I buy quality content for my website?
- Do professional writers offer discount rates for bulk content?
- Where can I find content that increases lead generation?
Next, you can create content centered around precise answers to these questions. Not only will you be targeting your content to a specific buyer persona but you’re also going to increase engagement because you will be providing detailed solutions to the persona’s exact challenges.
Content marketing becomes much more effective when you create content that is written specifically for the person you are trying to reach. When you create buyer personas, you’ll identify the interests, challenges, and motivations of your audience as well as the channels you can best reach them through. As your content starts to land in front of the right audience at the right time, engagement will increase and you’ll be able to expand your content marketing endeavors to reach an even larger number of people who fall into each of your buyer persona categories.