Much has been said about the importance of developing personas to improve your content marketing efforts. Having a clear idea of who do you market to is probably the most powerful way to align your content to your audience and increase its effectiveness, fact.
Let’s face it, content marketing isn’t just about improving your search rankings or increasing the organic traffic to your site. It’s about building up a brand and gaining that position as an expert in your field.
The problem? Developing content personas is damn hard to do.
Sure, you can probably imagine the people who might be interested in what your client is selling. Perhaps you can even think of how they look and their other characteristics. But that’s far from enough information to develop proper content personas.
You need to conduct a research into your prospects and analyze all the data to do so. But even that might not deliver the actual persona.
Why? Becuase of the potential mistakes you can make along the way. And, it’s those mistakes that I want to talk to you about today.
4 Most Common Content Personas Development Mistakes
- Making Stuff Up
By far the most common mistake of all.
In fact, I am yet to see a marketer who wouldn’t make stuff up about content personas, or base their persona on subjective impressions about them. Unfortunately, as a result of this, they create one they would like to be selling to, not the one they should really be targeting with their content.
- Talking to the Wrong People
When developing content personas, it is only natural to think of your clients sales reps as the best source of information about their customers.
However, just as sales reps might prove a great source for developing content ideas, when it comes to content personas, they may have a very little worthwhile information to share with you. Most customers tend to hide their real motives behind their actions from the sales people. As a result, most sales people base their work on gut feeling and their subjective impressions.
Instead, talk to your clients customers directly. Target especially those who made the purchase recently. Ask them about their buying process, let them reveal how they made the decision to buy from your client. This is the real stuff that will help you build a content persona.
- Using Wrong Data
It’s easy to use a wrong data when building up a content persona. Marketers love data, yet when it comes to content personas it is highly crucial you limit what you use to only the most important information.
Once again, instead of getting buried in tons of data from Google Analytics and business intelligence, simply talk to your clients customers. They should be the base for the persona, not a bunch of numbers.
- Developing Too Many (or Too Few) Personas
Some marketers get obsessed with content personas. They develop one (or even a few) for every stage of the buying cycle, every potential type of customers they want to target, many of their personal characteristics and more. As a result, they end up not knowing who they are really talking to and, needless to say, fail in their content marketing.
It might be hard to tell how many personas you need for a particular client. My best advice is to use common sense. However, as a rule of thumb, if the number of your personas exceeds ten, you might be going too far.
Developing and using content personas should be the essential part of your overall content marketing strategy. Through them you are able to cut through the static and noise of today’s world and connect directly with your clients customers.
However, in order to do so, you need to ensure that your target audiences needs become the main focus of your marketing efforts.
Do you use content personas in your work? If so, what are your experiences in developing them?