Who wants to read, view, or listen to your business’ content?
This simple question often turns marketing mavens into sputtering marketing interns. Here’s what our team usually hears:
“Our product appeals to people who love life, want to make smart decisions, and enjoys purchasing products from companies who share their values.”
There are few truisms in marketing but one of them is – selling to everyone means your selling to no one.
This type of big-tent marketing strategy leads to a “kitchen sink” content marketing plan. Any topic is worthwhile because someone will enjoy it. Right? Not really.
Situation Based Personas
Creating personas are an effective way to build a profile of your audience. We use personas to focus marketing teams push through demographic profiles and put a face on their reader. Here’s one of the personas for Pushing Social.
Sara the Medium-Sized Business CMO
Sara is 45 and has been serving as the CMO of her mid-sized company for 3 years.
She is an expert at so-called traditional marketing strategy and execution. Her leadership has helped her company grow from $10 million in revenues to just shy of $75 million in revenues during the last few years.
Sara’s company has hired a new VP. Sales who is tasked with building an outside sales team of 7-10 sales reps. Sara is being asked to provide these reps with qualified leads. The corporate strategy calls for this team to close $20 million in sales over the next fiscal year and Sara’s lead generation program will be critical.
Sara is worried that traditional marketing tools will not cultivate enough contacts. She’s also concerned that the contacts generated will not be sales-ready. Sara believes that content marketing may be an answer to her problems but she’s having difficulty separating bona-fide content marketing approaches from pie-in-the-sky notions parroted by social media groupies.
Do you see how this persona profile offers a clear picture of Sara’s situation, challenges, and needs? This persona profile makes it easier to create content that serves her needs.
Did you notice Sara’s situation in this profile? This information is critical. It’s tempting to finish the process after describing Sara’s role and company size. The problem is that Sara isn’t always our target audience even though she’s someone who can make a decision.
Imagine if Sara worked in a startup that had a strong in-house team of content creators. Is she still an ideal reader and prospect? Not so much. In this new situation, Sara isn’t motivated to look for new approaches and insights. Our content wouldn’t catch her attention. Adding the situation gives the content team critical information for crafting relevant resources and tools.
Before you create your Situation Based Persona, let’s discuss an important mindset shift that will dramatically boost the effectiveness of your content.
Harnessing the Power of Audience Clusters.
We find that most businesses have more than one type of customers. We call them Audience Clusters. We’ve learned that it’s common to see a company focus their content on a particular role in an organization, community, or household.
In the illustration below, ACME Widgets is creating content solely for the VP Operations role. This strategy works for a few months, but ACME will run out of content because they can only create so many generic widget posts.
A most successful approach uses audience clusters to identify groups of readers based on a shared situation. In Acme’s case, they could create content for:
- International VPs who manage global supply chains
- Consultants who are looking for new approaches to managing manufacturing centers
- Startup VPs who need ways to scale their operations
- Mid-sized VPs who need to streamline operations and prepare for the next phase of growth
Focusing on audience clusters leads to a diverse mix of content that demonstrates ACME’s experience, expertise and ability to innovate. The content doesn’t feel generic because it offers insights on a wide-range of situations.
Identifying and creating situation based personas for audience clusters is an effective way to scale your content options without lowering quality.
Make sense? Do you see how combining Situation-Based Persona’s and Audience Clusters can work for your organization? Let’s keep the conversation going on our Business Content Marketing Strategies LinkedIn Group here.