You may know Ardath from her books or her successful speaking career. But, if you know anything about her at all, you know that her passion is helping marketers develop the audience persona.
Ardath knows personas so well, she knows them like the back of the audience’s hand!
At the March 2016 Intelligent Content Conference (ICC), Ardath’s presentation, Develop audience personas that you’ll actually use, was chuck-full of good advice. Here’s a portion of that talk:
So much persona goodness! I want to highlight just a few of the takeaways here:
Sorry, mister I’m-in-a-hurry-and-don’t-have-any-budget, you can’t jump ahead and “do” personas later. Personas include the details behind the people you want to reach, inform and inspire. How will you do any of that without knowing who they are, what they need and what keeps them awake at night? You simply can’t.
Be specific, but look for similarities. This one can be tougher to understand at first but, as Ardath mentions, most brands aren’t able to truly do one-to-one marketing…and that’s okay. For most organizations, it’s actually better to create groups of similar individuals because it gives you a larger market to target with your content.
This may seem minor, but let the personas speak in her own voice (first person), don’t speak for her. This can often make it easier to think like she would and truly understand the problems she is facing (so you can fix them!).
Create a committee of personas. If a person you’re targeting would talk about his boss when thinking about a pain point or obstacle, isn’t his boss also someone you’d want to influence? She absolutely is! And, be sure to think through the relationships between personas, rather than developing them in isolation. If they would interact in real life, they should in your plans, as well.
Create a day in the life summary for each of your personas — and do that last so you can incorporate all of the other information you’ve collected to fully round out the picture you’re creating.
Clearly, personas are a critical part of how any story is developed. As the marketing world moves closer and closer to an intelligent content model, persona development won’t be something a few do well, it will be tablestakes. You either do it well or someone else wins.
Fortunately, there’s still time for you to learn more; and one of the best ways to do that is to attend the Intelligent Content Conference in Las Vegas next March. Plan ahead by saving the dates – March 28-30, 2017.