Digital marketing as a whole starts and ends with your users. By users we mean your audience or customers.
Without knowing who your users are you’ll never know what content to produce. You’ll never know how to present your content. You’ll never know how and where to promote your content. And you’ll never know why your content doesn’t resonate with them.
What is User Persona?
Known software developer, Alan Cooper, introduced the use of “persona” in his book The Inmates are Running the Asylum in 1999. According to him, personas are “hypothetical archetypes of actual users.”
Meaning, they represent a large number of people. And these people are who your business is trying to reach.
While it should be a product of qualitative and quantitative research, this could pose as a challenge for small businesses. Not everyone have the budget to do proper proper research.
But this doesn’t mean that you can skip it. User personas are integral to your content strategy.
Benefits of User Personas to Content Strategy
Regardless of the scope of your market research, the data you get are just numbers. User personas are what help humanize these statistics.
You don’t say “I’m writing a blog post about basic nutrients a cat needs for a male reader, ages 15 to 18 years old, who lives in a middle income household in NYC.”
Instead, you’d say “I’m writing a blog post for Carl the Cat Lover about basic nutrients a cat needs.”
User personas help you answer a lot of questions about your content. As Kristina Mausser puts it:
When done right, personas bolster demographic, psychographic and technographic data with more qualitative information that is paramount to all content decisions.
User Personas Help You Deliver the Right Content
Just because someone you know said that “Content is king!” doesn’t mean your website must have a blog. “Content” is not equal to “blog”.
In fact, it can be a YouTube video, a 9gag meme, an Instagram photo, or a Facebook status. Anything and everything you share for public consumption is content.
So, if you’re like Carl–a teenage boy from NYC who loves cats–what type of content would you prefer?
User Personas Let You Know When They’ll Need Your Content
The awesome thing about content strategy is that it can fit in to any aspects of digital marketing. And this includes inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing deals with turning a random Internet user into your fan. How? By creating and sharing content that appeals to them.
An Internet user undergoes different stages before they become a customer. This is what online marketers call “the buyer’s journey.” Knowing where your users are in the buyer’s journey lets you identify when is the right time to push a certain type of content.
Say, Carl the Cat Lover is looking for information about different nutrients a cat needs. Which content do you think he needs as of the moment?
Or this one?
But don’t get me wrong. Just because Carl is looking for information and not a product doesn’t mean you should throw your shopping cart out of the window.
Who knows? Carl might need to buy a cat food eventually. He just needs a little prodding.
Users Personas Let You Know Where to Deliver Your Content
Another great thing about personas is that they give you an insight on how they consume content. Do they prefer blog posts or infographics? Do they read it on a desktop or on a tablet?
Now, you shouldn’t assume where you should deliver your content. Just because Carl is a teenager doesn’t mean you have to spam his social media accounts.
What if he’s a busy student and can only access the Internet on his free time? What if he loves to listen to podcast (because listening to podcasts about cats makes him zen)?
You can find the answers to these questions if you conduct a thorough user persona research.
Over to You
You need to know your users in order for your content to be an excellent business asset. This is where liquid and linked content development comes in. Otherwise, you won’t be able to engage them.
Without your user personas, you can’t deliver the right content to the right people at the right time. And that could be detrimental for your small business.
How do you think user personas fit in your business’ content strategy? Let us know in the comments!