STOP writing self serving blog posts. Nobody wants to read them!
Very often businesses struggle to come up with content for their blog and despite good intentions slip into sales mode and, very often, pump out “advertorial” type content rather than valuable blog posts. Unsurprisingly these posts are rarely shared online and generate little to no ROI.
Talk to any good marketer and they are likely to tell you to start with your customer or client and work backwards. So it always amazes me how little some business owners appear to know about their target audience needs, interests and wants. Very often when I ask the question – What content would your client(s) find valuable? I get a blank response.
The trick to creating good content is to produce content that adds real value to your target audience while at the same time ensuring your content ties in with your brand message. If we really understand our target audience’s business needs, goals and even problems we can create content that resonates with them and assists them in achieving their business objectives.
How can we figure out the needs of our customers and clients?
Ask them what is important to them. Ask them what content they would find valuable. You may want to consider an online survey tool such as Survey Monkey to gather information. However, unless you are offering them an incentive to answer your survey (eg. a discount or a chance to win a prize) brace yourself for a poor response rate. So, if needed, go “old school” and pick up the phone and have real conversations.
A good way to record the information and needs of your customers/clients is to create client/customer personas for them.
What do I mean by Personas?
“Personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better, and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups” – Hubspot
So organise your customers and clients into groups and create personas for them.
Enter this week’s Cool Tool:
Hubspot’s FREE MakeMyPersona – http://www.makemypersona.com/
MakeMyPersona allows you create client/customer personas in minutes online. Once you have completed your persona it will be emailed to you in MS word for future editing.
How to Create my Persona
Visit MakeMyPersona and click on the “Start Making My Persona” Tab.
You will then be guided through a series of 17 questions. Step one is to give your client/customer persona a name – Eg. SME Bob and then give your persona a suitable visual (there are 5 visuals to choose from). Just click the “OK’ tab to move onto the next question.
Some of the types of questions include:
- What is the business role of your persona?
- What are their business goals and objectives?
- What is their business and what industry are they in?
- What is the size of the company and approximate turnover?
- How is their job measured?
- What tools do they use to get their job done?
- Who reports into your persona? Who does your persona report into?
- What are their duties and responsibilities?
- What are their greatest business challenges?
Tip – try to write as much detail as possible this will really help you generate relevant blog content in the future.
Once you have completed the questions you will be asked to give your email address and to agree to their terms and conditions. Once done, your persona will be emailed to you within 15 minutes.
Hupspot also offer a FREE Powerpoint guide on personas including an editable template to use. You can grab it here – http://offers.hubspot.com/free-template-creating-buyer-personas
So I have my Persona now what?
Look at your personas in detail and make a list of the subject matters that would be of interest to them. These subjects will form content for your future blog posts and social media updates.
For Example – If my persona is an SME owner, one big stumbling block for them may be a lack of guidance and even reassurance around their business decision making. After all everyone reports into them, but who do they have to turn to for advice and reassurance?
Maybe your blog can become the support network that that business owner needs and a place he/she relies on for great advice. And if your blog does it’s job, that reliance will lead to that SME building a relationship with your brand, buying your products and services and even becoming a brand advocate that refers you business.
Other Questions Missing?
The questions in MakeMyPersona are solely business focused. I believe there is great value in knowing more about your client’s/customer’s life outside work. So I would add additional questions to the persona template around their “Interests” – eg. do they play or watch sports? What teams do they support?
Other areas I would address would be: “Family” What are their hobbies? Where do they spend time socially online? Even their “Purchasing Habits”. However, as MakeMyPersona gives me my template in MS Word format, I can easily add in these questions.
If I understand some of these personal traits – I can ensure my content resonates better with my reader and that should I run a competition. With the information I have gathered, I can ensure I offer a prize that is of genuine interest.
Personas can be a great way of understanding your clients and customers better. If you know their interests and needs it is far easier to create relevant content for them. So whilst MakeMyPersona maybe a good tool to create a persona, the first step is to listen, research and talk to your customers and clients. Until we have done this – the tool is useless.
Here is a quick video of HubSpot’s MakeMyPersona in action.
Do you use Personas for your business? What are your thoughts on them?