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buyer personas and content strategy

As most marketers and brand managers know, buyer personas are an essential part of any marketing strategy. They are, after all, what informs your strategy and can make excellent foundations for growing your overall business.

So, what better way to learn about building buyer personas than by asking one of the experts?

We invited Matt Tomlinson from Red-Fern onto The Big Bright podcast to walk through the starting blocks of creating a detailed persona. From here you can begin weaving your newfound knowledge into a content strategy.

You can listen to the full episode via Apple Podcast or Spotify.

 


Alternatively, we’ve created the episode into a blog post to satisfy the readers amongst you. You’ll discover:

What exactly is a buyer persona?
Where do you begin researching a buyer persona?
How do buyer personas differ across industries?
Why is it important to have a content strategy in place?
How do you begin building a strategy?
How do you ensure that your content reaches the right audience?
What happens to the persona once they’ve purchased your product?

All about Matt and his role as a Digital Marketing Manager

Matt has worked at Red-Fern, a Manchester-based digital agency, for over two years. It’s his responsibility to oversee the marketing department and ensure all deliverables for both the agency and their clients are being carried out on time and to a high standard.

He is the final point of authority for all content being delivered. He also outlines the entire content strategy across different channels and ensures it all meets the required brand styling and tone of voice.

When it comes to building buyer personas, he’s in charge of arranging and delivering workshops with clients to get a fully-rounded picture of the types of audience they’re targeting.


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What exactly is a buyer persona?

According to Hubspot:


“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.”


Matt says that buyer personas don’t just help your marketing strategy, but it helps align every part of your business and brings everything together.

Where can you begin researching a buyer persona?

When Matt begins work with new clients, he starts by carrying out a thorough discovery process. He and his team hold a series of workshops that helps them better understand the client’s goals as well as their overall vision.

Some questions that you might want to ask yourself about your own personas are a mix of personal and professional:

  • What hobbies interest your ideal customer?
  • What do they want to get out of your product or service?
  • What are their main professional and personal goals?
  • What hurdles do they need to overcome?

If you don’t yet have this information, Matt recommends analysing every customer that comes aboard your product or service.

“It's vital to closely monitor customer behaviour as time evolves. So you should always address the personas with any adaptations, behaviour and trends that you recognise. That way, you're constantly updating your approach and making sure it's as relevant as it can be.”

After the discovery session, the team at Red-Fern goes away and dissects all the information. They look closely at competitors and get a feel for the industry-standard approach. By analysing the general market, they can get an idea of trends and understand what buyer persona’s competitors are going after.

How do buyer personas differ across industries? 

Red-fern predominantly works within the manufacturing industry, however, this doesn’t mean that personas are going to stay the same. For example, within the manufacturing world, businesses can range from floor cleaning specialists to food manufacturers.

So, when you think of your own industry, try and determine the niches within it.

“There's no one size fits all that works for each business. That's why it takes time and careful attention to put together accurate buyer personas for businesses.”

Why is it important to have a content strategy in place?

Quite simply, without a content strategy in place, your efforts around building the personas will be aimless and unrelated to your audience.


“By outlining a strategy, you're highlighting a clear path to achieving your long term goals and objectives. So within the strategy itself, you're weaving all the different channels to ensure that they're all pulling in the same direction, rather than producing things on the fly. A clear strategy is the foundation of success.”

How do you begin building a strategy?

One of the sections of the buyer persona will be any interesting topics that your ideal customer is interested in. This will grant you the ideal opportunity to start creating ideas.

“By looking at these interesting areas, by using the pain points, the goals and challenges, we've got a starting area for us to start forming our ideas of what kind of content will be best suited.”

At Red-Fern, Matt will sit down with his team and start generating key ideas. This needs to happen before any sort of outlining is done. This way, you can include your entire department and ensure that it’s not just one mind working on it. It’s super useful to get ideas from your social team, content and paid marketing teams.

Some other top tips for generating ideas include:

  • Reading up on industry news
  • Checking our your competitors
  • Conducting keyword research

However, Matt stresses that it’s important not to let keyword research get in your way.

“We like to abide by the stance that keyword research should never stand in the way of creativity. Because if it's a good piece of content, but it doesn't meet the search volume, or is too difficult to rank on Google, then still produce it because it's still valuable to your readers.”

You can then validate your ideas by using tools such as Answer the Public, Hrefs and SEMRush.

How do you ensure that your content reaches the right audience?

When it comes to disturbing your content, Matt believes that there is no point in sending out your content into oblivion. In other words, if your buyers aren’t on Instagram, then this channel is going to be a waste of your time.

“If you post any content in the wrong place or in an incorrect format, you're going to reach the wrong audience. So that's a key reason why we ask personal questions within the persona research.”

“If somebody doesn't have a lot of time on their hands, they're not going to have the time to sit down and read through a 3000-word eBook. Instead, they could benefit from a quick-win infographic that is super informative. It's quick and easy to skim read, and the reader can pick out key stats.”

A strategic content strategy along with the right channels will help you deliver your work to the right audience at the right time. Without this approach, your conversion rates will likely be down and you’ll fail to attract your ideal buyers.

What happens to the persona once they’ve purchased your product?

Matt says:

“In truth, the buyer persona journey never ends. These are live documents that obviously have to be updated constantly. So you can continue to target the audience effectively at all times. So whether it's proactive or reactive, customer behaviors are constantly changing.”

Once they’ve purchased your product or service, it’s important to be aware that this is not the end of their journey. It fact, it’s the start of a brand new one.

“Now, it becomes a matter of how you can target them to ensure that they become repeat purchasers. Further down the line, you’ll want to turn them into loyal brand advocates that you don't need to continuously target. Ideally, they’ll come to you no matter what.”

How do I make my content go further?

Now that you’ve got the starting blocks to building your personas and content strategy, you might be wondering how to make your content go even further. Check out our podcast episode: How PR Can level up your Marketing Strategy to see how you can reach an even wider audience and ensure your content efforts go unwasted.


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