Today’s guest blog post is written by Eli Nachum, CEO of BlogsRelease, discussing the importance of using your brand persona to build your content strategy.
The concept of a brand persona is not new yet it is incredibly, bafflingly underused by marketers. Creating a marketing campaign is much like writing a novel – storytelling is key. And any story lives and dies by its characters. If the author doesn’t know or care about their characters’ motivations and problems, then the whole thing falls apart. The same principle applies to marketing – who are you writing your story for and what motivates them?
Designing a ‘character’ or a brand persona is only the beginning to the process of creating intelligent content that your audience will like, share, and engage with. The stakes are even higher since the ‘character’ is based on your real audience and requires research into your demographics to truly understand them.
Thinking of your brand personas as individuals is a good exercise as it will help you steer clear of the ‘marketing robot’ mindset and into how actual people think. Demographics will get you far, but creating different personas will add dimension to your goals. Start broadly: what is the gender and age makeup of your audience? Consider their jobs, location, and income. Then narrow your personas down into actual people and give them names, titles, and concerns. You will be surprised at how many ideas you will get just from doing that. Check out sites like Xtensio (below) for good tools to use for persona templates.
Let’s say you created a brand persona for your fashion brand. Her name is Jane and she is a 22-year-old college student in New York City who is working as a marketing intern at a fashion magazine. Consider what brands Jane already likes and what appeals to her in branded content. Would Jane respond better to a photo campaign, a listicle, or a guest post from a blogger? Based on your audience research (thank you, big data!) you know that 90% of millennials like Jane have smartphones. You also discover that 33% of this demographic values retailers that ‘make them smile’. Just these two useful stats are enough to give you an idea of where to get started – perhaps a funny mobile campaign promoting the brand? Frequently survey your consumers and follow the latest research to see what your audience is likely to respond to.
We’re not talking about whether Jane prefers Olive Garden or Wendy’s, but where she likes to hang out online. Based on her job and age, it’s likely that Instagram and Snapchat are her platforms of choice. In fact, 60% of users aged 13-34 use Snapchat. Knowing, this you can tailor your funny mobile campaign to fit those platforms and hook consumers like Jane in.
Perhaps the most important point is this one. Put yourself in Jane’s (fashionable) shoes and think about what personal goals she is striving to meet and what questions she would have about your brand or your industry. Here it is useful to check sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers for a basic understanding of what people like Jane search for. Now all that’s left is to figure out how to make content that answers these questions.
For more longform content, something like Quora can help you identify keywords to use. This is especially useful if your company is focused on something like marketing, tech, or business and your content has the potential to educate. Once you browse enough questions from your target audience you will start to gain an understanding of words that pop up more frequently. However, and this is crucial, do not overstuff! Keywords are great tools for SEO but they are best used as a precise surgical strike to narrow your focus. Keep it to 2-3 words max for a post. Remember that similar brands are also using this method and that social media is already oversaturated with content. Jane the marketing intern does not want to see the same exact article a million times.
Once you have a good understanding of your brand persona and feel that your content answers her concerns, has the right keywords, and will be shared on the proper platforms, don’t forget to inject a personal touch. ‘Jane’ may not be real but she is an amalgamation of actual people who will be reading your content, so add in something that will make them laugh or even pause and say “hmm”. It will make all the difference between content that is ignored and content that succeeds. A good resource to see how this is done is influencers. Influencers command trust and credibility by being relatable and entertaining, giving them formidable marketing power. Learn from the influencers and bloggers that are popular with your audience and even try collaborating with them to create a more authentic brand voice.
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Want to partner with influencers to create successful content? BlogsRelease turns blogger influencers into brand storytellers by implementing, analyzing, and measuring blogger review campaigns for products and events.