Join Dayna Rothman for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating buyer personas and buyer journeys, part of Content Marketing Foundations (2015).
- In order for your content marketing to be relative and effective, you must create your buyer personas and buyer journeys. Most companies have many different types of buyers. These are your personas. These are the people that you connect with each day with all of your marketing activities. Most companies have multiple, different people that buy your product or service, so you want to make sure that you create content that is relevant and effective for each individual person. And each of these personas will have their own buying journey.
This is essentially the journey that they take from when they initially start researching a topic to when they make a purchase. Each buying journey has multiple different steps and it's critical that your content marketing really address each of the different questions and concerns that a buyer has in each step of this process. In order for your content to be relevant and effective, it must speak to both your buyer personas and their journeys. Creating buyer personas help you essentially choose what type of content you want to create.
Not every type of content is going to work for every single buyer. It also allows you to target the right topics that your buyers actually care about. By doing the research to determine what do your different personas care about and what do they want to read, you can certainly target what type of content you're creating. Your personas also help set the tone and the voice for all of your content assets. You might have one buyer persona that likes to hear their content in a more conversational way. Another type of persona might want more of an authoritative, more research driven type of content, and by doing buyer persona research, you can really determine what type and tone in voice of your content needs to be.
Buyer journeys help you know what content create for each buying stage. Like I said, each journey has multiple different stages and a proper content plan will have content that speaks to the questions and concerns your buyers have at each stage. Buyer journeys also help you know where your buyer's consume your content at each buying stage. Somebody who's initially researching your product might be finding out about your content on social media, whereas somebody that's close to making a purchase decision might be looking at a content syndication site or potentially your website.
It's important to know where exactly your buyers look at each stage of the journey. How do you find out this information? How do you create your personas and your journeys? You are gonna have to conduct interviews and research. How do you do this? First, you're gonna want to speak with your sales teams. Your sales teams are really on the front lines of speaking with your prospects each and every day. They know exactly what types of questions and concerns your potential customers have. Sit down and speak with your sales team to determine what exactly they know about your current customers.
Your customer service teams are also on the front lines with your customers each and every day. In fact, they know very, very closely what type of concerns your current customers might have, so speak with your customer service teams to determine what type of issues, problems, and questions your current customers ask. You also want to speak with current customers. It's important to get both sides of the story, so speak to both happy and unhappy customers. This will give you a well-rounded perspective when determining what you should write content about.
And then also, if possible, speak with prospects, the people that have yet to become customers, but who hopefully will in the future. During your interviews, you want to find out some of the following information, and this could be limited to what's here or you can well expand it into what makes sense for your own business. The type of information you'll want to find out to actually create your persona is information about background, potentially job details, the goals and challenges of your personas, where do they source their information, what's their preferred content medium.
Some people like to read content in an e-book form, other people might want to watch a video. Get some actual quotes from customers. What about their objections? What type of objections do they commonly say if they're speaking to a sales person? And then what's their role in the purchase process? You might have multiple personas that are the decision maker, and then some personas might also be assistants to the decision maker. So lots of, especially long sales cycle these days, have large buying teams, so you might want to create personas for each member of the buying team.
Then create a sample marketing message for each one of your personas so that you know exactly how you're speaking to them. Here's an example of a sample buyer persona. Many marketing organizations will actually write this down, create slides, and create whole pieces of content around sample buyer personas, giving them a face and a name and a personality. Here's just a snapshot of something that you can do with your own buyer personas to make it more personable and make it more relevant for your marketers. In addition to your sample buyer persona, you also want to create a sample buyer journey.
The information from all of your interviews will lend itself very well to creating this type of journey. Remember that a buyer journey has each different stage, and they might be different stages, depending on your own sales cycle and your own buyers, but here's just an example. It could be calm, status quo, shattered, search around problem, frame problem and solution, consult peers and experts, engage potential providers. Those are just an example of some of your buyer journey stages. In addition to each stage, you want to provide an explanation and potentially any questions or concerns that buyers bring up at each stage.
Now that you've created your personas and your journeys, it's time to align your content. It's extremely important to create content that speaks to each persona and each stage in the buying journey, and that'll make up your content mix. Now that I've gone over persona and journey, sit down with your stakeholders and your organization, determine what questions you should ask, and now create your own.
The course explores creating a content plan, choosing content types, and developing an editorial calendar. It also explains how to write, edit, and design content, as well as choose the right mix of content and curate it for maximum impact, and closes with tips on measuring the impact of your content marketing efforts.
This course is part of a Learning Path approved by the American Marketing Association.
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- What is content marketing?
- Hiring a content marketing team
- Creating buyer personas
- Developing a brand voice
- Setting goals
- Creating a content plan
- Writing, editing, designing, and curating content
- Promoting content on various channels
- Tracking performance