Before you begin developing a content marketing plan, it’s important to clearly define the target audience. We do this by developing personas. These personas go beyond the basic demographic information that we use when we target audiences with advertising. We dig much deeper to define what makes the person tick. You need to understand the prospective customer’s goals, motivations, and frustrations so you can address them with the content you develop. This allows you to develop content that not only speaks to them, but also provides value that helps them perform better at their job.
When you create an audience persona you should key in on an ideal customer for a specific product or service. The person should be fictional but realistic. The more detailed the better because your content plan should be specifically designed for this persona. The more honed it is to an individual, the more effective it will be.
There are many sources you can use to build the persona. If you place a LinkedIn tag on your website, you can get data about your visitors that corresponds to their professional attributes – job title, function, seniority, industry, etc. Many social media sites provide insights for the audience that follows your company’s page or profile. Google Analytics will also provide some demographic information as well as data on-site visitors’ shopping habits and interests. It’s also helpful to interview the people at your firm who work with your customers and prospects every day. Oftentimes, the sales team will have extensive knowledge of your ideal customer’s pain points and the potential objections to purchasing your product or service. This is invaluable as you develop content that not only piques their interest but also positions your company as a thought leader and problem solver.
Once you have an understanding of the audience, you can engage the experts at your organization as well as partners and vendors to develop content. Make sure it clearly addresses the problems your persona is facing and offers solutions; remember this is not content for everyone, it should be specifically crafted for your target audience. This is not a place to hide your knowledge. Some prospects might take the information and run with it, but the best qualified leads will recognize that they need to outsource the work to ensure high quality results.
The content you develop will serve as the hub of your business-to-business marketing program. It starts with building a comprehensive and accurate audience persona. To learn more about the other skills needed to effectively drive and nurture leads in today’s B2B marketing environment, check out our free ebook: 3 Critical Digital Marketing Skills to Master in B2B Marketing.