Now that we know who we’re engaging, it’s time to write. Know where & when to publish - which platforms &what style of content resonates best.

Part 2: Developing content for audience personas

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Now that we know exactly who we’re engaging, it’s time to write content specifically for target audiences

Know where and when to publish. Based on your demographic and sales data, you can determine which platforms your audience is most likely to find your content, when they are reachable and most responsive, and what style of content resonates best with them.

Capture_modes_of_communicationWhere – Consider the locations your audience is likely to read & respond to your content

On your website

(blog, news, about section, landing pages)

Have you developed a clear pathway for visitors to follow on your site, starting with your homepage and leading to to a well-established library of multimedia content in your blog or resource center?

A healthcare client, for example, experienced a 20 percent increase in conversions within the first month of redesigning their homepage to target two distinct audience personas: patients and doctors. Previously there wasn’t a clear pathway for visitors to follow from the homepage and content wasn’t specific to either audience. By segmenting the audience and catering content to each independently, we successfully increased traffic and conversions.

Social Media

Remember that not all social channels are relevant for all audiences. As an example, for the same healthcare client mentioned above, we developed a Facebook strategy for their patient persona and a Twitter strategy for their physician persona. These decisions were a result of network trends:

  • Facebook helped to develop a sense of community that their patients, primarily new mothers, were seeking.
  • Twitter proved to be a strong match for the physician audience because this was the network they were already most active on.
Newsletters

Newsletters offer you the flexibility to segment your audience across many criteria, such as:

  • geographic region
  • time of day
  • number of campaigns your audience will receive each month
  • product interests
  • job title

Consider your brick and mortar marketing approach and even direct mail. While online marketing may be cost efficient, a multichannel, offline approach may prove to be equally profitable in the long term. Years ago when the internet was just blossoming as a profitable channel for commerce, some catalog marketers stopped mailing catalogs in hopes that inexpensive and Purple_Icon_Emailefficient email campaigns would generate the same or higher response and ultimately replace the print and postage expenses associated with bulky catalogs. Many of those marketers were quick to learn that their sales revenue dropped when they stopped mailing catalogs and email alone was unable to generate a competitive response rate. It is part of the “magical marketing mix” or multichannel approach – the catalog proved to be an important part of the buyers’ pathway. Coordinating catalog & email blast dates help drive buyers online to complete a purchase.

When – The times your audience is most receptive to your messaging

Using your data about peak audience engagement, take into consideration:

The peak visitor times on your site
  • What time of day or day of week do your email campaigns generate the highest response?
  • When do you get the most social shares?
  • When do your blogs get the most comments and views? Focus your content to appeal to your audience when they are most receptive and able to engage.
Buyer’s Journey

Develop a strategy to map content to each persona for every stage along the buyer’s journey. This will include content marketing for:

Additional Tips

Be mindful of how your audience is accessing your content and when they have time to read it:

  • Are your readers commuting, traveling or out of the office? Mobile might be best.
  • Are they at work, home or on vacation? This will influence your content style, length and topics that they will be most likely to engage with.
  • What platforms are they using at different points in their day/week?

Style – Test a variety of styles to identify the optimal tone for your brand

Appeal to the Customer and the Human. Consider what style will elicit the best response from each persona. Do they like humor? Are they serious and high-brow? Would tugging at their heartstrings with an emotional approach resonate positively?shutterstock_343003802

Keep in mind that even though your audience has a life outside of the office, many of their work and personal lives intertwine. I’m a marketer 24 hours a day. Yes, I do sleep, but even then, my dreams may spark a campaign idea. My marketing sense (like a spidey sense) doesn’t turn off when I walk out the office door each evening. Your audience is likely similar. The content they absorb outside work may influence what they do at work. Consider what type of content is best-suited for them during the workday compared to during their evening down-time. They might respond well to receiving a serious whitepaper during the day and a quick tweet in the evening showcasing a witty video testimonial or product demo.

There can be multiple ways to approach persona development and there are multiple ways to market to each. Developing a content strategy for data-driven people will vary from developing a strategy for people who are more culturally driven.

Targeting data-oriented people?

Consider a strategy that is: 

  • Fact-driven
  • Full of info, stats, data
  • Concise & easy to digest, with a clear message
Targeting personable, culturally-oriented people?
  • Integrate socially/culturally relevant, fun themes into content – don’t be afraid to inject humor or emotion.
  • Entertainment – Graphic content such as video and pictures is easily shareable and engaging.

Charge ahead & test, test, test!

I’ve outlined a variety of points to consider when developing personas for your brand. Through this approach you are humanizing your marketing efforts and are opening the doors to targeted segmentation and expanding your content development opportunities. You’ve heard it before, but marketing is not a one-size-fits-all approach. You and I are different and will respond to different types of content – will your target audience.  

Just as your boss has identified the best way to communicate with you to motivate you to work on a project, you need to identify the optimal way to communicate with your audience to elicit a positive response. Diving into their mindsets by developing personas will help you achieve the results you need from them. It goes back to the basic tenets of marketing: The right message to the right people at the right time.

Gwen Slattery
Gwen Slattery is the Senior Director of Content Marketing at Brafton. She leads a team of Content Marketing Strategists in Boston and works with Clients to ensure their strategic goals are achieved. Gwen's marketing experience spans over a decade and includes both digital and print realms. She enjoys traveling, playing cello and hiking.

Thoughts?