April 23, 2015

In Content Marketing, Not Being Yourself Can Be a Good Thing

From the time we are young, most of us are told that one of the keys to happiness is to “be ourselves.” To be sure, pursuing our passions, following our intuitions and not allowing others’ judgments to impact our choices are important ingredients in a recipe for success in life. That is not always true, however, in content marketing.

Perhaps the most important characteristic for any content creator is the ability to step outside of his or her own mindset and view the world from the target audience’s point of view. Whether they are creating content in the B2B or B2C space, oftentimes marketers have different personalities, skill sets and professional challenges than the people who make up their target audience. So the challenge for those content creators is to figure out what their customers and prospects want to watch, listen to and read, despite having a completely different perspective.

Getting inside the mind of your audience can be tricky, especially if you do not clearly understand who these people are, what challenges they face and how your product or service can potentially help them overcome those obstacles. One of the most effective ways to get the perspective you need is to create buyer personas, or fictional representations of the kinds of customers you are pursuing. Let’s say, for instance, that your company makes wearable fitness devices that track metrics like number of steps taken per day; distance traveled per day; average heart rate and calories burned. One buyer persona might look something like this:

The Professional Parent        

  • I am a young professional with children in elementary school
  • I work 50 hours per week and often don’t have time to go to the gym
  • I have always been active but am finding it difficult to carve out time to exercise between work and spending time with my children
  • Oftentimes my best chances to workout come up unexpectedly and leave me with a small window
  • I want to be able to track my movement throughout the day and my workouts, even if they are spur-of-the-moment walks or runs
  • I am not a technology enthusiast but do appreciate its value
  • I have some discretionary income but can only afford to buy products I know I will use

If you are not a parent or particularly interested in fitness, crafting authentic copy for this fictional consumer might seem like a tall order. But creating a written, concrete persona like the one above makes it easier to pinpoint exactly the kinds of messages you want to convey to your target audience by stepping directly into their shoes. For “Professional Parents,” for instance, you will want to create content that appeals to their enthusiasm for fitness and emphasizes how convenient and relatively inexpensive wearable devices can be.

Most marketers create content with at least a vague idea of who makes up their target audience—but a vague idea simply is not good enough if your objective is to make an emotional connection with customers and prospects. To create material that helps you achieve your business goals, you must truly become somebody else.

Not sure where to start with creating buyer personas and crafting targeted content? Contact a content strategy vendor for assistance.    

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