If you’re reading this article, you’ve heard of buyer persona. Particularly useful in marketing, these fictitious characters (and nevertheless more real than life) often help us to detect the needs, expressed or not, of our customers. They can also be used to define the marketing strategy for your professional blog or your company’s website. But are we sure that this method is suitable for the editorial design of a blog or site? And if we go to reader persona ?
A buyer persona, what is it?
The buyer persona are fictitious avatars of your customers and prospects. They come in the form of character sheets (fans of Dungeons and Dragons, you will not be disoriented), in which you list important characteristics – from the point of view of your company.
If it is so difficult to give a clear and unique model for the creation of buyer persona (HubSpot’s is by far the best done, but it remains incomplete) is that these fictitious representations change from one company to another. If you sell wellness services, the important characteristics of your customers will certainly be very different from those of a SaaS software publisher.
However, most buyer persona include a certain amount of recurring information: demographic and socio-economic data, behaviors (whether to buy online or not), objectives (professionals for B2B companies, personal for B2C boxes), fears and challenges… In short, this is to understand and analyze all the variables that can condition the transition to buying.
The buyer persona, a limited marketing tool
Don’t get me wrong: I use buyer persona to design my offers, like everyone else. I even used it to design the editorial line for my professional blog. And that’s where it jumped out at me: my persona were absolutely not suited to the editorial design of my site. Or at least, they were not complete: I knew their needs, their expectations vis-à-vis digital marketing and web copywriting. I also knew the level of their marketing budget, and their professional objectives.
However, I had no idea what they wanted (or liked) to read when they went to the web. And that’s a shame, because that’s the whole point of an editorial line: write articles that will appeal to the audience of the site or blog in question, by identifying their favorite themes and their problems.
This is why I added an additional component to my persona basic: this is the part reader persona. And I explain how to do it in the third (and last) part of this article.
Of buyer at reader persona, there is only one step
When you have designed your own persona, you’ve certainly identified their buying or browsing behaviors (or both). To realize your reader persona, the process is almost the same, except on one point: you will have to identify reading behaviors, not consumption. How to do ?
Identify the tastes of your audience
First of all, if you are already editing a professional website or blog, your monitoring and analysis tool (like Google Analytics) will give you a fairly precise idea of the tastes of your audience. List the most viewed, most commented, most shared articles on your blog. Conversely, scroll down the list of your articles least popular with Internet users. Is there a general trend emerging? If that is the case, identify which formats work and which do not. These elements will help you complete your reader persona.
Find the keywords most used by your readers
Then you’re going to have to identify key words and phrases, the most frequent queries from your customers on search engines – related to your business, of course. In this way, you will not only find answers to the behavior of your audience, but you will also be able to refine your keyword strategy from an SEO perspective. Brainstorm (alone or in a team), use your intuitions, write them down, then check them:
- With the suggestions and the associated queries from Google ;
- With l’Google Adwords keyword planning tool (which provides you with the monthly search volume for the keywords of your choice);
- A SEO tool free or paid, like SEMrush or Myposeo.
The keywords and queries most used by your audience should also appear in your reader persona.
Define the needs of your readers (not your consumers)
Finally, you are going to have to identify the issues that drive your audience to visit your site. You will say to me: “But we have already done it for our buyer persona ! “. It is true, and not entirely accurate at the same time.
When you have identified the needs of your buyer persona, you have focused your thinking on the offer (products or services) that you offer to your customers. And normally, this offer cannot be replaced by a practical guide, a white paper or advice published on your professional blog (otherwise, what’s the point of selling your offer …). The needs that lead a user to read your articles are therefore not necessarily those that push them to buy your products.
Let’s take a slightly absurd example to illustrate this. Your company produces and sells lawn mowers. The need that pushes a consumer to take an interest in your offer is to mow their lawn (until then, everything is fine). On the other hand, your business blog is unlikely to meet the same need – unless you explain how to build your mower on your own, which means competing with you unfairly … yourself.
However, he can consult your articles to learn how to use your mowers, or to know how to make an English garden. The needs of your reader will therefore be different (saving time when getting started, wanting to have a beautiful garden to impress the neighbors, etc.) than their needs as a consumer. And it is these needs of the reader (in addition to those of the consumer) that you will have to integrate into your files reader persona.
These three elements (most popular article formats, most searched keywords, and reader needs) may be enough to better understand the online reading behavior of your audience. And there is obviously no need to throw your buyer persona fire after reading this article: on the contrary, supplement them with this information to make them both more operational and more effective.