When you create content you have to understand that it isn’t intended to be of interest to everyone, it is however intended to be of interest to someone. Somewhere on the Interwebs someone is endlessly surfing, wishing and hoping for a solution to a problem that they have. Not knowing that your product is the perfect answer. If you can only connect with this person, you have a guaranteed sales, without any hard selling, with no strong arm tactics all it takes is some well written copy.
Before you can create content for this audience you need to know who they are. Content marketing professionals spend a great deal of time research their audience, to come up with buyer personas. You need to do this too.
Instead of getting hung up about buyer personas, as many people do, think of this person as you’re “best customer.” They aren’t your only customer, but if you aim to engage the best customers, or the ones who most need what you’re offering, you’ll also get the other customers as well.
I’m sure you have heard about that for most businesses, 20% of their customers generate 80% of their sales. This is commonly known as the 80/20 rule. You job at the research stage is to discover who those 20% of customers are.
You need to create a basic demographic profile of your customer. The demographic profile includes quantifiable data about your best customer, like their age, gender, ethnicity, location, income level, and so on.
More importantly you also need to take into account psychological data that’s not quantifiable. This includes things like:
Problems: What are three or more problems or issues that your best customer dedicates time, budget and energy to solving?
What does success look like: What does success look like in the clients’ eyes, this could be revenue growth, or personal development such as a promotion?
Road Blocks: What could prompt your best customer to question whether you can help them achieve their success goals? This is where you begin to uncover the hidden objections such as office politics, prior experience with a company likes your, a lack of trust, etc.
Purchasing Cycle: What process does your best customer follow in exploring, evaluating and selecting a solution that can overcome their perceived road blocks and achieve their success goals?
Decision Making: What will your best customer think about the products offered by your competitors? What aspects will they like, find useful, decide are better than yours, worse than your own. If you really push the boat out you should aim to find this information out from those that purchase from a competitor and those that decide that no solution is right for them.
From all of this data, you should create a persona of your best customer. You’re going to actually create a human being complete with a name that you make up. It will be an imaginary human being, but an important person nonetheless because this is the person you’re going to create your content for.
For example: “Will Bruce, a guy in the American Midwest in his 40s who works for a mid-sized company. He carries around a little extra weight and he worries it might be having a negative effect on his marriage, but he can’t get up the motivation to start going to the gym or to start looking after himself”
The information that goes into creating this should come from actual customer data and not just what you think he’s like, this is important because often a business’s perception and reality are completely different.
This research is a bit of work, but it’s essential if you want to create content that really works from a content marketing perspective. Once you’ve created a persona, all you have to do is tell that person how your product can help them. This is what makes content marketing work like magic.
Pro Tip: You should also remember that different people in the buying cycle have different personas, for example a purchasing officer will have different goals and requirements than the sales director that might want to use your products.