No matter what product or service your business sells, you will have a target audience to sell to. And in the world of digital marketing, your written content is an essential tool for growing your audience and getting them to engage with your business.
So, when writing for your target audience, you need to have a buyer persona in mind. But what is a buyer persona, and how can you write for them?
In this post, I'll take you through five key steps to creating content for your ideal audience (based on buyer personas). These steps are:
I'll also share three handy tips for creating your buyer personas, so keep reading to find out more!
What Are Buyer Personas?
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customer. Think of them as characters in your business story. Businesses create them to understand how to market their products or services to their target audience.
For example, imagine a business that sells premium-quality paper. They can have multiple buyer personas to sell their paper to, such as schools, other businesses, or homeowners. Each type of audience requires a different buyer persona because they have different needs.
Buyer personas are therefore very important to use to ensure that your business is targeting the correct audiences and using the appropriate marketing tools and techniques for each audience. They aren't just used for direct marketing to your ideal audience either. They can be used to inform your content strategy.
Your current or target audience should engage with your content. That content should therefore be written with your buyer persona(s) in mind so that it has the maximum marketing impact.
But how? Here are five steps you can take to start writing for your target audience and buyer personas.
How to Write For Buyer Personas
1. Research your audience
The first step to writing for any buyer persona is to research your current audience. This audience can range from leads to customers, so do a thorough sweep through your CRM system.
If you've recently started your business, you may not have a big enough current audience to work with. That's okay! Now is the time to research your market and develop your target audience.
When researching your audience, use CRM software to identify trends and patterns in the types of people or businesses who are responding to your content. It doesn't matter if they subscribed to your mailing list or made a purchase; everyone is relevant.
Break down your audience using the following categories:
Job responsibility (if applicable)
If you can, separate your contact list into common categories you find (your CRM system should have this inbuilt). This should give you a good starting point from which to create your buyer personas.
2. Identify their needs
When writing for your target audience, you need to write about potential problems that your audience is looking to resolve. How do you do that? By identifying your audience's needs.
Every individual and business out there has a problem they want to overcome. You aim to create a solution for that problem with your business model and content. For example, as a business ghostwriter, I specialise in helping businesses discover and develop their brand voice. This is relevant for businesses who struggle with streamlining their content online, and have no clear idea of how to market their content or copy.
So by identifying the needs of your audience, you can accurately market your business by producing content that is tailored to these needs. So, from your audience research, create a list of potential needs your audience has and how your business can resolve them.
3. Create a buyer persona
Now that you have researched your target audience and identified their needs, it's time to create a buyer persona. Remember that a buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal audience, so you don't need to use a real example of one of your customers.
Your buyer persona should be a general idea of an individual with specific characteristics, such as gender, age, and job title. This is where your audience research will pay off. You will already have these categories at hand, so you simply need to create a persona based on the characteristics you outlined from your current audience.
Below, I've outlined three tips for creating a buyer persona that will help you to better define your target audience. Check them out here.
4. Write content that targets their needs
When writing for buyer personas, there are two options. In a previous post, I talked about the differences between copywriting and content writing. The key difference is:
Copywriting is used for a short-term marketing strategy where the goal is to get an immediate response from an audience
Content writing is part of a long-term marketing strategy where the goal is to nurture and grow a loyal audience over time
(To read more about the differences between copywriting and content writing, check out the post below.)
The difference in marketing strategies (short and long-term) can also be applied when writing for your buyer personas. You can either:
Create long-form content such as blog posts and eBooks to educate your audience on how to resolve their problem, or;
You can use copywriting to advertise how you can help your audience if they choose to make a purchase.
Both strategies are valid, depending on how you want to grow your business. I think it's healthy to have a mix of both. Short-term marketing is great to get instant results, and it shows your audience how their problem can be solved easily.
On the other hand, producing content such as blog posts and eBooks as part of a long-term strategy can give you an expert advantage, as people head to your blog to read informative and educational material.
So, when starting to write for your buyer personas, keep three things in mind:
Always write according to their needs - create content that answers questions, or offers your products/services as solutions to their problems.
Produce a range of content, including blog posts, email campaigns, eBooks, and social media posts.
Target different buyer personas with different kinds of content - for example, younger people tend to use social media platforms such as Facebook to get their content (Source: HubSpot)
5. Promote your content across marketing channels
Finally, it's time to promote your content. Following on from the previous step, you should promote your content where it makes the most sense. So, informational and educational content should be published on your blog, and then promoted across social media.
Your marketing content that is written to encourage people to take action should be promoted across your short-term strategy marketing channels. This includes platforms such as social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), marketing emails, flyers, and other advertisements.
3 Tips For Creating a Buyer Persona
1. Use identifiers to create the persona
Identifiers are physical characteristics that we humans use to categorise people, such as sex and gender, race and ethnicity, age bracket, height, weight, and so on.
At first, it might not seem relevant to give your persona a specific ethnicity, height, or gender, for example, but it helps to humanise your persona. It also means you market towards them more effectively, because you perceive them as real people (based on real traits).
2. Give your persona a name
By giving your persona a name, you bring it to life. In storytelling, your characters need names to become individual people, despite not existing in the real world. This means readers can relate to them, imagine them, and fall in love with them.
The same can be applied to buyer personas (except for the falling in love part). Naming your buyer personas adds depth to their character, enabling you to understand them better and see them as real people. After all, they are based on real people.
Some examples of buyer persona names could include:
Marketing manager Melanie
Sales rep Sam
Business Owner Bridget
3. Use persona tools to guide you
If you're struggling to build your buyer persona, there's no harm in using a persona tool to help you. HubSpot has a fantastic free tool that helps you create your buyer persona by answering questions on different categories.
These categories include:
Job roles and responsibilities
Goals and challenges
You can create multiple personas for your different target audiences if needed, and each persona is fully customisable.
So, those are five steps to writing for your target audience by using buyer personas. They are:
Research your audience
Identify their needs
Create a buyer persona
Write content that targets the buyer persona's needs
Promote your content across marketing channels
Despite being fictional representations of your ideal audience, buyer personas are nonetheless essential to any marketing strategy because they help you to plan and make your marketing more efficient.
And don't forget the three tips on creating buyer personas: using identifiers, names, and tools to help you build a persona that's as realistic as possible.