When writing content, too many marketers and writers look inward; they think about the knowledge they have in their industry and how best to communicate that knowledge. While this can be valuable, it ignores the most important factor to the success of your entire campaign: your audience.
Instead of looking inward, you’ll need to look outward by fundamentally improving your understanding of your target audience. If you can craft pieces of content that speak directly and exclusively to a specific demographic, you’ll have a much better chance of reaching that demographic and making an impact.
The big problem most marketers face is the sheer difficulty of achieving this understanding and applying it in a meaningful way. Quantifying the psychology of a given demographic target is nearly impossible, and even if the answers were clear-cut, shaping your content accordingly would be a challenge, to say the least.
There’s one pivotal content strategy that will make it easier for you to understand and write for your target audience: the creation of buyer personas. Think of a buyer persona as a fictional character you create to represent the average traits of your target audience. By familiarizing yourself with these different buyer personas, you can more deeply acquaint yourself with the needs and beliefs of your customers and write content that truly speaks to them.
Creating your buyer persona is a lot of work. You’ll be shaping a complex and dynamic fictional character who accurately represents the type of people you’re marketing to. And if you’re catering to multiple audience segments or multiple demographics, you’ll have to create more than one.
Throughout the course of your development, be sure to consider the following factors:
Once you have at least one buyer persona completely created, you can start making meaningful changes to your content structure and direction.
First, you’ll want to shape the tone of your messaging. If you haven’t already created your master brand voice, you can incorporate your buyer persona-influenced intonation into it at the ground level. If you have already, you can create variations of your tone based on the different buyer personas you’ve created.
In terms of tone, consider the mood you’d want to set for your persona. Is your persona high-energy, optimistic, and outgoing? A lighter, sunnier, more casual intonation will be better. Is your persona more stoic, focused on work, and perfectionistic? A more serious, grounded tone will be better. Try to imagine how you would speak and act in a room full of that type of person, and let that aura come through in your writing.
Next, you’ll want to select topics that have a specific appeal for your target demographics. Here, you’ll definitely want to consider the lifestyle factors like family status and working status. As an obvious example, you wouldn’t want to write a parenting advice article for a single college student persona. As a more subtle example, writing about cost-effective solutions might be a good topic choice for a lower-income buyer persona.
In addition to your intonation, the type of words you choose can also have an effect on how well your content is received. First, consider the education level of your persona—can you get away with using larger, more complex words, or should you keep your vocabulary at a more approachable level? Next, consider the degree of expertise of your persona—is this someone with an in-depth knowledge of the industry, or someone who’s reading about it for the first time? You’ll also want to consider the formality of the persona. For example, can you pepper in colloquialisms and light profanities, or should you keep your words precise and in order?
Of course, once your content is created, you’ll have to take extra steps to ensure you syndicate that content to the right demographics. Social media platforms are your best syndication options, and your best bet for customizing your target audience. For example, use LinkedIn Groups if your buyer persona is chiefly a professional in a given industry. Use Pinterest if your audience is mostly female. Use new platforms like Snapchat if your audience is mostly younger.
The first time you create a buyer persona, you may struggle. If you do, don’t worry. Personas don’t have to be perfect—in fact, they can’t be perfect because they can’t possibly represent an entire segment of your audience. Use your buyer persona as a rough guide, and let your process develop organically. As you receive more feedback and get to see initial results, you should have a good idea of where to make adjustments. Eventually, you’ll find a perfect balance, and your writing will appeal directly to your intended customers.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.