5 Steps to Creating an Effective Persona-Based Content Strategy

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Brent Rapisardi

Sr. Client Consulting Manager

persona based content strategyOne of the biggest challenges marketers face today is leveraging successful persona-based content strategies. Marketers who can incorporate these strategies are more likely to see a lift in sales, and online conversions. Below are five steps that will ensure a successful Persona-based content strategy:

1) Know your market

Getting the right content in front of your audience is essential, but can be challenging.  73% of online consumers get frustrated with content that appears to have nothing to do with their interests. The first step in producing relevant content for your audience is to know your market. Identifying current buyer pain points and purchase drivers provides the necessary foundation for personalized content creation.

2) Build personas based on role in purchase process

Once you understand the key purchase drivers and buyer challenges within your tech space, the next step is to identify the different members of the buying team. It’s not as simple as saying we want to target C-level positions because they are the ones making all of the purchase decisions. A common buying team scenario consists of your evaluators, influencers, and decision makers. Evaluators and influencers are interested in more technical messaging – evaluators looking to identify the need, and influencers presenting the case for your product/service. Decision makers are more concerned with ROI and costs. When assigning prospects to these title and job function groupings can serve as guidelines but should not be the only criteria used for classification.

3) Audit current content

After the audience segmentation, the next step is to review the current content portfolio. This is necessary in order to identify any gaps in a) buy cycle coverage, and b) persona messaging. An efficient way to audit this content is to review each piece of content and identify: 1) content type, 2) stage of the buy cycle, and 3) persona(s) the messaging targets. Content type is just as important as buy cycle stage and persona targeting. It is possible that a single piece of content can speak to multiple personas, so there is no need to identify only one persona that is the best fit. Different personas have different content preferences by buy cycle stage, so content diversification is necessary.

At right is a sample client content audit outlining volume of content in each buy cycle stage that speaks to each persona – gaps in persona/buy cycle coverage are in red.

Rectifying gaps in persona coverage identified in the buy cycle will be identified in the next two steps.

4) Re-position/re-purpose current content

Before rushing out and maxing out your content budget for the year on creation of new content that speaks to your brand new personas, take a step back and a deep breath. Review the content you just spent all those hours compiling. Chances are there are content pieces that speak to multiple personas, and can be re-purposed with a slight little tweak.  An example of multi-persona content: a client case study  titled “client swears by vendor solution” . The case study not only speaks to the technical challenges a client faced, but also the resulting cost savings by implementing the vendor solution. Rather than have to go out and create new content, this piece can be repackaged and promoted under two different titles – one that outlines the technical need for the vendor solution, and one that speaks to the cost savings presented through implementation. Re-purposing content is a cost-efficient way for clients to maximize their messaging reach, while providing easily digestible content. Taking that technical white paper and creating 2 infographics is another example of re-purposing content to cover buy cycle gaps.

5) Create new personalized content that fills audit gaps

persona content evaluationAfter reviewing the current content offerings and making all the re-purposing and re-positioning tweaks you can, the next step is to identify current gaps and fill them. Using buyer preference courtesy of our 2014 Media Consumption Report, we were able to identify content preference by each of the personas from the client example outlined in step 3 (see image above). Understanding content preferences by persona allows you to be smart with your content budget, only creating content types you know will resonate with each persona. Leveraging the above information, I would recommended infographics for evaluators, decision makers, and purchasers, as well as eBooks and Videos for evaluators.

If you would like to continue the conversation around persona-based content marketing and development, feel free to leave a comment or connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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