Why Creating a User Persona is Key for an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

If you want to devise a successful content marketing strategy, your business has to know who you wish to target that content at. If you do not know who you wish to target, then you will not be able to engaging with the target audience, and generate RoI for your business.

So the first step is getting this user persona right. Whether you wish to sell a product or service, or influence tens of thousands of readers with a thought-provoking article, you have to know whom you are catering to. So all the content you create – be it a blog, article, video or even a contest – has to be developed within a framework determined by the persona. Getting your user persona right is absolutely key to creating compelling and relevant content.

For example, if you are generating content for a travel website for family holidays, you may wish to ask and analyse data centered around the following questions:

  1. Family size and income
  2. Reasons for taking a vacation – is it exploring new places, de-stressing, undertaking a religious pilgrimage?
  3. Budgets – do you want plain vanilla accommodation or a boutique hotel?
  4. Destination preferences – beaches or hill stations?

Get actionable insights

Once you have analysed this data, you can now put together a typical user. This profile may be a composite but as along as it is based on insights gleaned from real users or buyers, it could work for your content strategy. So our persona for the travel website could be a family of four (including 2 kids) with an annual income of say Rs 10 lakh to whom you can now create content that meets their holiday goals and objectives. Personas based on generic ideas are not likely to be effective.

Among the best ways to create a user persona is to collect and analyse user data preferably from interviews. Combine online research and social media inputs as you put together a persona but also look at aspects that take into account how the user persona could likely change. In today’s world, personas are constantly changing.

A user persona can be captured in 1–2-page descriptions. These descriptions must include behavioural patterns, skills, attitudes, and the environment, defined for different industry domains. If you are, for example, creating content for a website that aims to cater to students planning to study abroad, you would have to build a persona that takes into basic educational qualifications, educational objectives, overseas destinations and most sought after subjects, etc

So how do you create an effective user persona? Here are some strategies to follow:

  1. Base your persona on real life information. Aim at deriving relevant insights not just information
  2. Prioritise insights so that you are not distracted by the trivia. Get insight from a buyer who may have patronised a competitor
  3. Track the buyer persona. In an age of changing demographics, goals and desires can change. The user or audience persona is not a static animal, and you have to ensure it is constantly updated
  4. Go off the beaten script. Don’t be blinkered by the questionnaire that may be the basis of your initial research. Supplement it with additional research
  5. Don’t create too many personas. If you do, your content script will lack focus and your marketing efforts will not have any worthwhile focus.

A well-researched user persona is at the heart of a good content strategy. It is something that business must focus on in today’s competitive business environment. Rope in professional services to help your business create the right persona. Today’s business requires personas for banking and finance, retail, medical services, e-learning, leisure and FMCGs. In India, you may need even within a domain, different persona for say a banking product- one targeted at urban resident, another for someone in an tier2 town. If you get your user persona right, you are well on the road to a successful content marketing strategy.

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