In the last few years, there has been a universal shift in the focus of B2B marketers to the creation and development of content marketing — so much so that content marketing is now a $40 billion industry. No longer just a “buzzword,” content marketing is now a serious endeavor — an endeavor that research from the Content Marketing Institute shows is being pursued by more than 90 percent of B2B marketers. Yet, according to NewsCred, as much as 50 to 70 percent of the content that is created today goes completely unused.
Why? Because, not all content is meaningful or relevant. Prospective customers are looking for quality content that resonates. They are seeking content that addresses their unique challenges and pain points, and they are going to the Web and social channels to find it. A quick Google search provides prospects with instant access to the knowledge and perspective they need to determine if you are a company they want to do business with. Your prospective customers know quality content when they see it — and when they don’t.
To create content that connects and that delivers optimal ROI, your content strategy must be rooted in buyer personas. Content Marketing Institute found that buyer personas are a critical success factor for increasing the effectiveness of your content, and when used properly in the content development process, can increase effectiveness by as much as 45 percent.
How can buyer personas drive effectiveness? Here are seven key questions that can help you discover the critical profile data that is required to develop highly effective content.
- What are the pain points this persona faces? Identify the three to five challenges your buyer commits time, money and political influence to solving.
- What options are they pursuing to address each challenge? Identify the solutions they are considering with respect to solving each specific challenge they face — this is what you are competing against.
- What motivates this persona? Identify how your buyer defines success, both personally and professionally.
- What is this persona’s buying process? Identify how this buyer explores and selects a solution that can help them address the challenges they face and achieve their definition of success.
- What are the decision-making criteria of this persona? Identify their core buying criteria — what they value most in the products/services/solutions and companies they are considering.
- What types of content does this persona consume? Understanding content consumption preferences is just as important as the quality of the content itself. Is the buyer more likely to consume white papers, executive briefs, videos, infographics, podcasts, blog articles or some other form of content?
- Where does the persona consume information? Identify the top three to five channels the buyer uses to access information (i.e., industry/media platforms, eNewsletters, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).
Whether developing content for thought leadership, social storytelling, brand storytelling, lead generation or sales enablement, buyer personas are critical to the success of your content development strategy and your customer experience.