Found your audience? Great! It’s time to start persona writing.
I’ll bet you thought that you were ready to begin writing your business blog copy once you identified who your customers are. Well, I hate to let you down, but you’re not ready – yet. Sure, you can sketch out your ideas, maybe jot down some notes that have been floating in your head, or piece together an editorial calendar. There’s no harm in doing that. In fact, it can only help you later when it’s time to generate your content.
But now, it’s time to talk about persona writing.
This is the part where you qualify all those ideas, and who you think your audience is, versus who they really are.
Let’s talk about audience for a moment. You have a general idea of who’s currently reading your blog and buying your products, but do you know who will be reading in the future? Can you visualize who your ideal readers are? How will you get them to your website? Once your readers are on your website, how do you turn them into customers? It may feel like I’m asking a lot of questions, but they all need answering before you can begin a successful storytelling marketing campaign. To answer these questions, use the information you have on your audience and start doing some persona writing.
How does a persona differ from your overall audience?
Your audience is the group of people who are reading your blog. You’ll want to communicate with this crowd. In your audience are potential – or even current – clients or customers. They have specific needs that you need to meet. Ideally, you’ll have a handful of personas. If you understand the needs of each persona group, you’ll be able to use your blog to turn personas – for our purposes, consumers with specific needs – into customers.
Here at BuzzFarmers, we do persona writing for our clients as part of the BuzzAudit. We gather our research, market data, and analytics and dream up what your ideal customers would look like. We ask ourselves many questions: How do your ideal customers and blog readers think? What are they looking for? What motivates them? What’s their socioeconomic background?
It’s important to take age, gender, income, and many other factors into consideration when building personas.
We have a lot of fun with persona writing, and we use it as a guide that informs editorial calendars, branding, keyword research, and many other facets of building an online brand presence.
While we can’t give away all our secrets (although they’re all yours when you sign on with us!), let me explain a little about how we develop personas, and why we believe it’s a vital element in creating and managing content campaigns. First, we recommend that you build approximately five personas for your blog. If you have fewer than three, you’re possibly forgetting an important group of customers. If you have more than seven, you might be getting too specific.
[Tweet “The beauty of persona writing is that there are no specific instructions.”]
The beauty of persona writing is that there are no specific instructions.
We can’t give you a menu filled with customer traits and suggest you pick combinations and write to them, though that sounds much easier! What we do instead is think about the wants and needs of what market research says about your customers.
For instance, a retired woman searching for a prosthodontist wouldn’t have the same needs as a teenage boy who needs to visit an orthodontist. To set yourself apart from the crowd, you need to forget about your competitors, and what any other brand may be sharing.
Remember, your brand has its own unique story to tell.
Use storytelling marketing and persona writing to turn your blog readers into valued customers. Here are a few examples of personas we’d suggest to a company we aren’t currently working with if they ordered a BuzzAudit.
Examples of Persona Writing in Action
Solar-powered houses help homeowners save money. If I were creating a persona report for SolarCity, I’d create one persona specifically for a homeowner. We may even create a persona for several different types of homeowners. But for the sake of this example, let’s start with Jim the Homeowner. Yes, we name our personas and attribute personal details to them so that we can determine what they might be looking for on the web.
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From there, we can determine what to write about so that we’re there to answer those questions.
This is what Jim the Homeowner’s persona profile might look like:
Jim the Homeowner
About: Jim is frugal but has a good job and understands the long-term benefits of investing in the long run. He has owned his home for 10 years with his wife and is becoming increasingly frustrated with utility costs. He’s been looking around his neighborhood and has noticed many of his neighbors are using solar power. He’s shy, so he hasn’t come right out and asked them about the solar panels, but is becoming increasingly interested in how much solar panels cost, how they work, and how they might save him money.
Challenges: Jim isn’t sold on solar panels yet because he still has a lot of questions. He may not have the capital right away to invest in them, but he doesn’t plan on moving and may be interested in making the plunge if he decides the long-term savings will be worth it.
How SolarCity’s blog can help: We can provide Jim with answers to his most basic questions about solar power including average setup costs, savings, and everything he needs to know about getting solar panels. We can build a relationship with Jim through the blog by becoming his go-to resource, and when he’s ready to buy, he’ll come to us first.
We’d then do keyword research to find out the top 1o keyword phrases that Jim the Homeowner is looking for and use those to come up with ten blog posts we can write specifically for him.
What is Jim the Homeowner looking for? (Google tells us that there’s a total of 34,370 search queries for the keywords below from people like Jim every month, and very few competitors writing about them – which means when SolarCity writes using these keywords, they can turn search visitors like Jim into paying customers very easily.)
solar power cost, solar power facts, solar power information, how does solar power work, best solar panels, solar panels for your home, buy solar panels, how do solar panels work, tax credits for solar panels, how much does it cost to install solar panels, how much will solar panels save me
Suggested Blog Topics:
- 10 Ways to Determine the [Solar Power Cost] of Your Home
- [Solar Power Facts] You Must Know Before Investing in Solar Panels
- [Solar Power Information] for Homeowners Who Want to Save Money
- [How Does Solar Power Work]? A 101 Tutorial in Solar Energy in the Home
- 10 [Best Solar Panels] for City Homes
- How to [[Buy Solar Panels] for Your Home] Like an Expert
- [How Do Solar Panels Work] and How Much Room Do I Need?
- 2014 [Tax Credits for Solar Panels] You Can Take Advantage Of
- [How Much Does It Cost to Install Solar Panels?]
- [How Much Will Solar Panels Save Me] Within One Year?
Doing your keyword research and coming up with blog topics is the best way to find out if the persona is legit – if nobody is searching for what you think they’re searching for, you may want to move on to a different persona.
From here, we may decide that there’s more than one type of homeowner persona. For example, there may be Jane the Interior Decorator who is not a frugal buyer and who is ready to buy very soon, but has questions about aesthetics, yard space, and making her house look good while still sporting industrial-looking panels on the roof or in her yard. She may be on the web looking for solar panel designs, and aesthetically pleasing placement. In this case, we’d create a whole persona just for Jane.
And now that we know so much about Jim and Jane, how about our next persona? How about city school districts? Schools are always looking for ways to save money. Targeting a school district – actually, we’d recommend getting as specific as a superintendent of schools – will open your editorial calendar to new opportunities for content. Meet Dr. Souza, superintendent of schools, your newest persona. What motivates Superintendent Souza to buy solar panels? Cost savings?
[Tweet “Know who to speak to, and you’ll find out what to share.”]
When preparing a BuzzAudit for a company like this, we’d remind them to think creatively. Don’t forget to include realtors in your persona group! Realtors will recommend you to their prospective buyers who are looking to build a home or buy one and rehab it. Including Ronald the Realtor as a persona allows you to target your keyword research to be sure he’ll find your company online.
Are you wondering whether it’s time to write yet?
You bet it is. Get your pencil to the notepad or your fingers on the keyboard. Practice your persona writing skills. Know who to speak to, and you’ll find out what to share.
Worried about writing personas? Sign on for a BuzzAudit, and we we’ll do all the tough work for you!