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An In-Depth Guide to Creating Personas for Content Marketing

Madeline Killen

Developing detailed marketing personas can help brands reach key members of their target audience more effectively.

For brands that are just beginning to hone their marketing strategies, or for those who are looking to revamp their outbound marketing tactics across the board, it’s essential to have a firm understanding of who you’re selling to — beyond surface demographics. This may seem like a given, but it can’t be overstated: consumers have come to expect a higher degree of personalization from the brands they interact with, so it’s essential that businesses tailor their messaging to different types of consumers within their overall target audience.

Crafting marketing personas isn’t just a matter of collecting demographic data. While it is important to know details like age range, income bracket, homeownership status, and the like, the best marketing personas take this information and translate it into personality types that brands can engage with on a substantive level.

At their core, marketing personas are fictionalized yet detailed versions of a brand’s target consumers. Demographic data informs them, but they are ideally models of real people with real wants and needs to whom companies can orient their marketing strategies. Accurate marketing personas don’t just help businesses use their ad spend more effectively; they also make it more likely that consumers are connected with the right products to meet their particular needs.

Why Marketing Personas Matter

To break down why marketing personas are so important, consider a certain demographic: say, women ranging in age from 20 to 35. Perhaps this group fits into the $40,000 to $60,000 income bracket. As far as careers go, they’re primarily creative or creative-adjacent. This information is important in helping brands think of who their product might help, but it only becomes actionable when you begin shaping these facts and figures into a coherent marketing persona.

Consider the typical stresses and challenges facing this audience. If you’re selling a service that makes it easier to file your taxes and get the highest return possible, for example, you’re going to want to speak to the pain points of that particular process for this particular group, and shape a marketing pitch that makes sense for their needs. In doing so, you’re sure to make an impact on the customers you value most.

Asking the Right Questions

We’ve covered the “what” and “why” behind marketing personas, but now we’ll get into the “how.” To create marketing personas that will fit your brand’s needs — whether you’re working in a B2B or B2C space — you’ll need to work through basic questions like these:

1. What do they do for a living?

Not every member of your target audience is going to work in the same industry, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything in common when it comes to pain points your product can address. Determining their professional or personal needs regardless of their field — perhaps they occupy a similar decision-making role, for example — is a must.

2. What publications do they read?

Understanding how your target audience relates to your industry is essential. By knowing what publications they read — either in print or online — you’ll have a better understanding of where they see themselves, how they’re used to being spoken to, and what brands they’re likely aware of. All of this will help you develop a vocabulary that they will instinctively identify with.

3. What challenges do they face?

Consider the challenges that are currently preventing your target audience from attaining their goals. Do they lack the bandwidth to truly thrive in their industry? Are they looking for a service that will transform their productivity at home? Knowing what obstacles consumers face — and parlaying that into a message that positions your brand as a solution — will help your business demonstrate that you’re closely in tune with the needs of your customer base.

4. How does your content — and your product — help them achieve their goals or conquer their challenges?

Whether your company sells to businesses or individual consumers, your customers are going to have their own short- and long-term goals. How can your company help them get there? Position your product or service as indispensable by communicating the ways in which it can help them achieve their most important objectives, pinpointing exactly where your content — and your product — fits into the picture. Remember: if you know who your ideal customers are and what challenges they face but you lack messaging that positions your product as a solution, you may be missing a golden sales opportunity.

Getting Personal

Ready to craft your own persona? Start by researching marketing personas that other companies have successfully used to connect with their target audiences. These examples should delineate your customers’ wants, emphasize their fears, and underscore how you can help them reach their goals. Check out these L&T originals to start:

1. Mark

This buyer persona for Mark, an aptly-named marketing manager, tells us a bit about his background, his challenges and fears at work, and what he stands to gain from a partnership with L&T. Developing a marketing persona like this can help you tailor your language to someone who, for example, wants to spend more time with his young kids, spend less time in the office, and get results that will impress his boss. When selling to someone like Mark, we focus on how our services will take the pressure off and help him deliver on lofty marketing goals.

2. Ms. Snow

Ms. Snow is higher up on the totem pole than Mark. She represents a high-powered woman in business, and her Ivy League education and expensive interests reflect her glass ceiling-shattering aspirations. Whereas a client like Mark might be vying to impress someone like Ms. Snow, Ms. Snow is all about taking the company to new heights.

Because Ms. Snow is at the peak of her career, you know that communicating with her is all about communicating results. She’s not interested in impressing anyone else — you just need to pull out all the stops to impress her.

These two personas are prime examples of how diverse your target audience can be — both in their needs and backgrounds. Considering the myriad factors that drive your customers or clients to action will help your sales team more effectively target those who have the most to gain from your business.

Madeline Killen

Senior Content Associate

Helps clients find their voice and share it with the world, online and in print. Best friends with her library card.

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