Buyer Personas: The First Step in Creating Helpful Content

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This post discusses why creating buyer personas is essential to content marketing. But, before we do that, we need to take a step back and review a crucial ingredient in content marketing success – helpful content.

In August 2022, Google rolled out the Helpful Content Update designed to help the search engine rank content that will help or inform its users. Google continues to adjust its algorithm to serve up content that aligns with the intent of searchers, stating, “This ranking update will help make sure that unoriginal, low-quality content doesn’t rank highly in Search.” The goal is to provide unique, authentic information written for people, not search engines.

Google’s Helpful Content Guidelines: An Overview

Before we dive into the importance of buyer personas for content marketing, it’s worthwhile to briefly review helpful vs. unhelpful content.

Helpful content:

  • provides the reader with a satisfying experience
  • serves your existing or intended audience
  • demonstrates expertise and in-depth knowledge of the topic
  • is related to the website’s primary focus
  • educates the audience and helps them reach their goal

Unhelpful content:

  • doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations
  • is written primarily to rank in search engine results
  • uses extensive AI or automation to produce a wide variety of content that strays from the primary theme of the website
  • lacks expertise and doesn’t add unique value
  • is misleading or promises to provide an answer to a question but doesn’t

This leads to the question, “Since we’re writing for people, how do we better understand the people we’re writing for?” The answer is to research your intended audience and create buyer personas to guide your content marketing.

Why You Need Buyer Personas to Create Helpful Content

Now that we know what kind of content Google likes, let’s talk about why you need to use buyer personas to create helpful content.

To understand what content would provide a satisfying experience for our potential customers, you must first put in the research to create buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fictional character representing your typical customer. Buyer personas are one of the first steps to creating helpful content. Buyer persona research allows a deep understanding of who your customers are, their problems, and why they choose to buy from you instead of your competitors.

Creating buyer personas makes it easier to create content that solves real problems. The buyer persona creation process also enables you to empathize with your customers and dig into the burning questions that lead them to Google in search of solutions to their problems. Because you’ve researched who your customers are, you can create helpful content that speaks directly to their pain points.

Successful SEO and content marketing strategies today involve creating content curated specifically for your audience. If you’re looking to build a brand with products and services you are certain your customers will love, you need to understand who your customer is. Building a detailed buyer persona will help you determine where to focus your time, allowing for better alignment across your organization.

What is a Buyer Persona?

According to HubSpot, a buyer persona (also known as an ideal client profile or marketing persona) is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. In other words, this is a profile of your perfect customer.

With the help of a buyer persona, you can better understand your customer and their specific needs, behaviors, and concerns. Personas allow everyone in your company to internalize the ideal customer you are trying to attract and to take a strategic approach to marketing.

Buyer personas can also help identify an appropriate brand voice, keeping your content relevant to your target audience. These are important elements to consider when developing or improving your content strategy.

Buyer personas are the first step in creating helpful content that matches search intent. They provide insight into your customers and why they do business with you. Once you know who they are, you can create content that helps them solve their problems.

What Should I Include in My Buyer Persona?

When creating your buyer persona, it is important to consider customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about who they are. Here are some questions to consider.

  • How old are they?
  • Are they married?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they do?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their challenges?
  • What motivates them to take action?
  • Where do they search for answers?
  • What are they interested in reading about?
  • What websites do they visit?
  • What social channels do they use?
  • What questions related to our product, service, industry, or niche do they have that we can answer?
  • What content would help them solve their problems?
  • What content will help them make decisions?
  • What types of content (articles, infographics, images, videos, podcasts, social media posts) do they like to consume?
  • What kind of devices do they use?

An in-depth understanding of your customers and their content preferences will help you create a successful content marketing strategy.

Watch this video to learn more about creating buyer personas to help you create a deeper connection with your audience.

Researching Your Personas

Making assumptions about your customers isn’t enough. It takes time and research to figure out who your audience is. It is essential to examine common patterns in your audience. Try using these methods to research your personas.

  • Use lead generation forms to obtain valuable information about your customer base. Include form fields like, “What best describes you?” or “What best describes your industry?”
  • Interview or survey your customers. Figure out what they like or don’t like about your product or service. Ask them about the questions they were having or problems that needed to be solved that lead them to your product.
  • Examine your website’s data to discover trends in how people find and consume your content.
  • Analyze lead data in your CRM to determine what leads are converting to MQLs, SQLs, and Opportunities. What commonalities do they share that you can include in your ideal customer profile?

The Importance of Buyer Personas in Content Marketing

A solid buyer persona is essential in driving content creation, product development, sales, and more. Before developing a content marketing strategy, establish your buyer persona so you can segment your audience and begin creating more effective marketing campaigns. Using a persona, you can hone into your audience and what they want from your brand while increasing engagement.

Need help crafting effective buyer personas to optimize your content marketing efforts? Download our free template below!

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated with fresh content. 

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