Updated: Jul 13, 2020
When you’re putting content together for marketing, it’s easy to focus on the business and your brand. What do you want to achieve? What do we want to say?
But that’s putting the cart before the horse. It’s crucial to focus on your readers. What does your audience need to know? That’s why the first place to start with content marketing is not what you’re saying, but who you’re saying it to.
Marketing ‘personas’ aren’t a new idea, but in the era of social media, it’s more important than ever to have a clear picture of who is on the other end of your content. The great thing about social media is that we can reach so many more people. The challenge is making that feel personal.
So where to start with building personas? The best place is with your existing customers. Who are they? Job title, seniority, primary responsibilities are useful things to discover. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. Current customers who are happy with your products and service should be pleased to chat about their hot topics and what they think the main industry trends are.
Of course, if you can’t organise meetings right now, your sales team is an excellent source of information on customers. What questions do they hear most often from prospective customers? What are the main hurdles customers have when trying to get a budget to purchase your products (for example)? Is the sales team hearing about a particular technical or legislative topic regularly in meetings?
The relationship between marketing and sales can sometimes be a little fraught, as we all know! But the main objective of content marketing is to grow the number of potential customers and to build long-term relationships that provide your business with steady revenues. With sales professionals as your allies, the job of creating content will be much easier.
You may find, after some investigation, that you have several customer personas. Business-to-business purchasing is a complex process, and there are a number of potential audiences for you to consider – engineers, purchasing managers, finance directors, end-users.
Depending on your resources, you may have to focus on one or two personas and direct your content at them. Trying to spread your content too far could dilute the message and also create confusion about how things should be written or presented. The clearer you can be about your audience, the better your content can be.
So the message is that despite ‘digital marketing’ being new, the old marketing rule still applies – know your customer. In a world where you can communicate with just about anyone, it’s better to make the right people feel understood.
(Image credit: Adobe.com/pressmaster)