The Importance of Buyer Persona in Content Marketing

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by Jomer Gregorio on January 9, 2015

buyer personnas

In any form of marketing, the key to effective communications that generate the kind of results you want depend on how well you know the people you are talking to. Each person has unique attributes that are defined by their various needs, lifestyles and motivations. From a consumer’s perspective, the factors that influence their reasons to purchase products or services depend on several attributes as well as their location in the buying cycle.

Buyer personas play a critical role in digital marketing, particularly in establishing the effectiveness of your content marketing strategies. While many marketers focus on several demographics to get better traction in their digital marketing efforts, marketers who focus on key buyer persona insights will require half the number to get the same results. Buyer personas define who your targeted audiences are, and from this stem the lifeblood that defines your content strategies. Effective content marketing is delivering the right kind of content to a specific type of targeted audience – and you’ll learn more about it here and on the following sections.

Probably the most important aspect in marketing is the buyer persona. Simply put, if you’re marketing products or services to a wrong kind of consumer – no one will buy. Buyer personas define who your targeted audiences are in content marketing context and identify the reasons why such audiences will be interested in your content.

Buyer personas are developed by carefully understanding the key demographic information as well as key behavioral information that would define their consumption trends. These will define why they would be interested in a particular piece of content, why such content would resonate with them, and why this particular piece of content will be crucial in influencing them to take the next step towards conversion – either as leads or customers.

Rings of Insight

To better understand buyer personas, it would be best to first have a firm grasp of the aspects and attributes that define such personas. The 5 Rings of Buying Insight for Buyer Personas outlined by the Buyer Persona Institute provides a good and practical guide on understanding the aspects that influence buyer behavior. An overview of these buying insights is described below:

  • Priority Initiatives – these describes the reasons why particular consumers will be interested in your content. Reasons that influence buyers to allocate their time and resources to your content can be brought about by personal or organizational factors
  • Success Factors – these describes the results or the benefits that your targeted audiences would like to receive when they consume your content
  • Perceived Barriers – these describes hindrances like lack in features, perceived inabilities, and other negative assumptions that will prevent your audiences from consuming your content
  • Buyer’s Journey – these describes and identifies the specific step in the buyer’s journey your targeted audience may be in as well as the particular factors at that specific step that will influence them to make a favorable action after consuming your content
  • Decision Criteria – these describes the aspects, features and other attributes among competing products or services that your targeted audiences perceive as most important to them

Buyer Persona in Targeted Content Marketing

Buyer persona in content marketing is very important particularly if the goal of the business owner or digital marketer is to reach out to highly targeted audiences. Targeted in this aspect means connecting or engaging with audiences at a more personalized level – as if the brand is directly speaking to a specific person.

Identifying buyer personas, marketers can have a better understanding of who their targeted audiences really is and what their particular needs in terms of content are. That is why there is no one-size-fits-all content as each buyer persona may be attracted to a particular type of content that will influence them in the buying process. Types of content that can be used include but are not limited to:

  • Content for Brand Awareness – these are the types of content that will help targeted buyer personas understand what your brand, products and services do and how these can benefit them
  • Content for Products/Services Promotion – these are the types of content that will draw attention to your products and services to inform particular buyer personas that you have what they are looking for
  • Content that Educates – these are the types of content that will inform and try to educate your targeted audiences about various aspects related to your products or services. This will establish your brand as an authority or valuable resource in your niche
  • Content that Encourages Sales – these are the types of content that provides the final information targeted audiences need that will eventually convince them that your product or service can provide what they specifically need – enough to make them take the next step and purchase

Developing Buyer Personas for Content Marketing

Building accurate and effective buyer personas takes comprehensive research so you can gain a better understanding and deeper insight of the needs and preference of your targeted audiences that will enable you to cater to their specific needs. Research should put you in their shoes and allow you to see through their eyes the particular aspects and factors that will attract them to a particular piece of content and perfect the next step towards conversions. Research involves gathering information and this involves gathering vital knowledge about your targeted audiences’:

  • Demographics Information – job titles, roles, and responsibilities; size of the department or company he/she is in; industry their business is engaged in; the location of the business; and their allocated budget
  • Behavioral Information – identifies the motivating factors that will drive audiences to consume a particular content; their expectations from your content; their specific role in the buying process; their existing knowledge and understanding about your products or services; the needs they require to be met to make them consider making a purchase; and their specific concerns and touch points that will prevent them from making a purchase

From the information you gathered from the above, you can now try to identify and develop buyer personas that can categorize your targeted audiences for particular content. Once you can identify specific buyer personas, you can now make better and more accurate content that will cater to the needs of your audiences.

Depending on the information you gathered, you may identify several types of buyer personas. This may be confusing or even misleading particularly if you’re just new to this game. A good guide that will help you in the buyer persona creation process is one outlined by Bryan Eisenberg, a professional keynote speaker recognized internationally for his pioneering works in digital marketing and persona marketing. Bryan describes four general classifications of buyer personas, namely:

  • Competitive – First movers and early adopters that are highly focused on their goals. These types of buyer personas don’t need much information to convince them and would readily respond to good offers
  • Spontaneous – These types of personas does not take long to make decisions and are usually influenced by their emotions as driven by images, videos, reviews by other consumers and other specific types of content that cater to their emotions
  • Humanist – These types of personas are similar to spontaneous personas but are slower in making decisions as they rely more on what others will say and their level of relationship with a brand
  • Methodical – These types of personas are slow in making decisions as they need to look at things more methodically and logically, involving additional research on their part. They are not easily seduced by promos and special offers

Although this list from Bryan provides a good outline that can help you identify your own set of buyer personas for your targeted audiences, it is important to note that people are easily affected by their emotions and decisions are usually affected by their emotional state that will sometimes make them decide on things based on emotions and gut feel – and not on facts or analysis.

As a final note, it is important to reiterate that buyer personas are important for content marketing as they can help you identify who your targeted audiences and market segments really are: what makes them tick, what makes them decide on purchases, and what drives them to make specific decisions. Buyer personas is like putting a name or a face to particular audience profiles and attributes, enabling you to create highly targeted content specifically intended with that particular buyer persona in mind. With these insights, you can create better, more effective, and highly targeted content that will boost your overall digital marketing efforts – and get better results.

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Jomer Gregorio

Jomer B. Gregorio is a well-rounded expert when it comes digital marketing. Jomer is also known as a semantic SEO evangelist and practitioner. Check out our Digital Marketing Services today and let us help you in achieving positive and profitable results for your business.
  • Hi Jomer,

    This is fantastic article…very well thought out and articulated.

    I take each of my clients through a process where they learn the psychographics of their target market once they’ve defined them.

    I want to think about:

    * What types of personalities do articles appeal to?
    * Where do they hang out online? ie blogs, forums, social media, chamber of commerce sites, news sites, etc…
    * What kind of content do they prefer? Stories, educational pieces, how to’s, etc…
    * Then there is the obvious things like age groups, gender, lifestyle, business categories, etc…

    It can be a challenge at first, but the reality is we are doing nothing more than categorizing and then figuring out how to meet them where they are at and create an opportunity to engage with them wherever they may be.

    Great post Jomer, I really enjoyed it and I liked the link to Bryan Eisenberg. I’m definitely going to check him out.

    Have a great weekend!

    ~ Don Purdum

    • Hi Don,

      Thanks for sharing your strategy. That pretty much adds more value to this content!

      The only real way to go about being successful in content marketing is to really understand your audience, give them the appropriate contents that will enjoy and promote it to their faces.

      Yes, this process is long and tedious but I think its well worth it in the long run.

      Thanks for dropping by. Hope that you will have a great week-end too.