Content Marketing: Engaging People Through Persona Modeling

By ● August 11, 2016

It should come as no surprise that major social media platforms like Facebook are evolving their algorithms to mitigate the abundance of non-desired content for their subscribers, and minimize the one way, unengaging information being pushed to an already uninterested audience.

Social Media Pollution is a thing.

We are bombarded, on average, with an estimated 5,000 promotional messages daily. Unless you’re the Rain Man – you probably only remember a very select few. We have found time and time again that people will only give their sincere attention to meaningful and desired content that enriches their communities.

One of the greatest tools we can share with any small business owner, agency, or marketing consultant looking to better cultivate attention in today’s plethora of information, is Content Marketing Personas.

Photo cred – WeHeartIt

This is what marketing has evolved to.

One could say that consumers have largely become immune to messaging, but this not quite the case. More accurately, we have learned to be much more selective and apt in distributing our attention. But to better understand the filter being utilized by the modern-day consumer, we must first better understand the audience.

Traditional marketing targets a population using variables like demographic and psychographic segmentation. As an example: businesses might define their target audience as “18 to 25 year old married males who play basketball, located in Montreal”. Only problem is: this practice of segmentation invariably leads to impersonal, generic, and ultimately one-way branded communication.

To avoid this, further segment your audience into smaller and more comprehensive groupings known as personas. This framework is the key to evolving and generating sustainable growth.

Persona Modeling

“A marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience.” – Ardath Albee

Interactive, visual, and action-driven, Persona Modeling identifies exactly who the consumers are at a much more personal level, and enables companies to compose rich and desirable content tailored to them and their communities. This also ensures that a single large segment is not being oversaturated or alienated.

How does a business create a persona?

A persona on paper is similar to a resumé, but rather than focusing on the individual’s appearances or descriptors, it is more important to focus on the context they live in and why.

Components of the persona can vary, but mainly composed of a representative image, name, description, life story, job title, location, hobbies, pastimes, lifestyle, beliefs, engagement triggers, and any other relevant information that can be used to facilitate interaction.

It’s all about observing your target population and recognizing pattern groupings within the overall audience. 

Ensuring you have created a representative persona will require a continuous review of content interactions. An analytics scoring of the articles targeted to a persona can give great insight if slight alterations are needed, and it should be to the content manager’s discretion if the persona model needs readjusting.  More information about how to utilize analytics and technology will be provided in future articles.

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Photo cred – WeHeartIt

Personas in content creation

It’s important to visualize and understand the target persona audience prior to writing. This will help guide the tone and style, better reflecting how they want to be spoken too, and the topics they are passionate about.

Writers tend to already utilize an imaginary form of personas, the only difference in this case, is that there is now a tangible, synergised, clear definition of the end reader. It is through this process of insightful content creation that we have managed to cut through all of the clutter, enabling us to capture the attention of an entire generation.

From the author:

I would love to provide examples about content marketing personas but I can only post so much online. At Narcity Media we have developed in-depth personas for Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, and other cities in North America.

If you are interested in learning more about persona modeling, or want help in developing a system for your company – contact us!

Narcity Media specializes in relevant and engaging Sponsored Content. Find out how here.