How to use personas in content marketing for lead generation

You’ve spent months building your content marketing strategy, launched your content campaign with great confidence, anticipating a flood of leads.

Then reality hits. Instead of a flood of leads, you get a trickle of interest.

What went wrong?

83% of marketers cite lead generation as their top goal for B2B content marketing, but they often make the mistake of creating content they think is good rather than making content that fits the needs of customers.

How can you solve this problem?

To create content that generate leads, you can customise your content to your customer. Map out your content according to your buyer’s journey, addressing his pain points and challenges.

For your content to be effectively targeted, it’s a great help if you have a firm and accurate grasp of what your buyers are like and what their buyer’s journey looks like.

Enter persona-based marketing: this is an effective tool to help you gather all the information you want to get a complete picture of your target customer.

Personas give you a more accurate picture of your potential customers, making sure you’re sending the right message to the right person at the right place, thus giving you the ability to generate more leads.

What are content marketing personas?

Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. They are a portrait of your typical, ideal, archetypal customer.

How do you create content marketing personas?

When you’re researching the profile of your personas, you can ask these questions about your target customer:

· What is his title?
· How long has he been in the job?
· Who does he work directly with?
· What are his daily tasks?
· What does he like or dislike about his job?
· What his frustrations, pain-points and main challenges?
· What are his needs?
· What is his role in the buying process?

For the B2B world, an effective persona profile includes the corporate context.

Questions to ask include:

· What are the goals of the company this year?
· What are the biggest challenges the company faces this year?
· What are the industry dynamics – what is the bigger picture?

After you’ve done your research, create a character profile that you can use as a persona. You can name your persona to make him more life-like and list his characteristics to give you an accurate picture of your typical customer.

How do you use personas in content marketing?

To effectively use personas in content marketing, you can:

Map your content to the buying cycle

Once you’ve come up with your personas, you can come up with a strategy to serve content to them according to the stage they are at in the buying cycle.

Marketing research show that leads come in three categories:

· Research: The lead has a problem and is researching solutions (75% of leads)
· Evaluation: The lead knows what product will solve the problem and is evaluating vendors. (20% of leads)
· Purchase: The lead is ready to buy (5% of leads).

When you’re developing content, be guided by these statistics as to the type and amount of content you produce. Roughly 75% of your content should be top-of-the-funnel content like e-books, guides and industry white-papers. The next 20% should be assets like product webinars, customer case studies, and comparison documents. Finally, the last 5% should be items like free trials, audits, and consultations.

So you should start developing valuable content for your personas, map it to the buying cycle, and watch your lead generation grow.

Tie your persona marketing strategy to macro moments, topics and events

Being relevant and compelling will help boost your content marketing efforts. Map out relevant industry events, topics and news across the year, and tie them in with content that will effectively reach your personas.

Serve content in the media form that your personas use

Find out how your personas like to receive their content and give it to them in that format. If they’re always on YouTube, then create videos. If they love e-books and white papers, then create that type of content.

Follow the steps above and you’ll find that using personas can help your content marketing be more relevant, targeted and timely, thus helping you generate more leads.

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