Design personas to understand your audience

Sometimes it’s the obvious things, those most simple of ingredients, that if forgotten can completely destroy an otherwise perfectly prepared meal.

When it comes to marketing, the basic principle is to appeal to your audience; to offer those people reading your content value and insight that they will understand and appreciate.

One way of becoming more acquainted with your desired audience is by designing personas. By designing a persona you are putting a face to the people you are speaking to. And we mean the word ‘face’ in its most literal sense. By creating a comprehensive visual representation of the kind of person you want your content to reach, you will give your business a consistent focus that ensures every piece of content — be it blog, email, newsletter or article — is produced in the tone, style and context that is most effective.

You can either work with an external content agency for this or commit to the process yourself, but either way the process will remain the same:

1. Personal workshop

Speak with your marketing, HR and management teams so that everyone is fully aware and in agreement about who you regard as your target audience.

2. Carry out research

Find the data that lets you delve into the detail. Utilise focus groups, interviews and surveys to find out what people like, what they don’t, and who you believe will help your business prosper.

3. Illustrate

It may sound somewhat radical, but by designing and subsequently illustrating your personas, you will create a visual depiction of the people you want to influence. The designs can be detailed, meticulous, vague, abstract; whatever helps to give you a creative steer when producing content.

At the end of the day, what you are aiming for is guaranteeing everything you create reaches the right people. It’s obvious — some may say fundamental — but it is something that can far too easily be overlooked. Even if you end up reaching out to a smaller audience, it is far better to interact with 10 engaged people than 100 who will dismiss your content.

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