Why Every Content Marketer Needs An Imaginary Friend

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

Bruno Alfonse. This was the name of my Cabbage Patch doll when I was 4 years old and, at the time, he was as good as a real boy to me. As with any preschooler’s imaginary friend, I clearly envisioned exactly who Bruno Alfonse was. I could tell you everything about him from his shoe size down to his hopes and dreams. I knew him better than anyone!

Luckily, I grew out of that phase before middle school. However, there is a new-age imaginary kid in town for all content marketers. We call these imaginary besties our Buyer Personas: individual profiles of those that make up our target audience.

If you don’t already have a detailed customer profile for your business, there is a good chance that your content creation efforts will be going to waste. Trying to create content without a clear idea of who your audience is would be like trying to shoot darts in the dark. You need a clear vision of your target before you can take aim. To best envision your target audience you need to pick out at least one individual from the crowd and create a Buyer Persona.

How Do You Create a Buyer Persona?

I’m so glad you asked!

Here is a brief overview of the essential elements involved in creating a customer profile so realistic, you will question if you’ve possibly met this person!

Let’s Get Visual

We are visual creatures, so the best way to picture your target audience is to start with ….well….a picture! The more realistic, the better. And give them a name. Your customer profile should include a first and last name (even a middle name if you want to get fancy). Being able to put a face to a name is the perfect introduction and, before you know it, it will be as if you’ve ‘known’ this guy or gal for years.

Dig a Little Deeper

The next step is to start piecing together all of the professional and personal details of your ideal customer’s life. Basic information like age, marital status, and number of kids helps your Buyer Persona take shape. More detailed information like their hobbies, job title, and income help you to really start getting an idea of who this person is. This is crucial because without knowing exactly who you’re talking to, it’s hard to know what to say. You have to get right inside your buyer persona’s head. What questions do they need answering? What keeps them up at night? Having this intel will dictate the type of content you produce and the response you are likely to get.

What Does This Look Like?

Here’s a basic template you can use to make sure you really know the ins and outs of your Buyer Persona:

You are welcome to borrow ours or create one customized specifically for your business. Feel free to get creative. Some buyer personas are even written in the form of a ‘Day in the Life’ story. However you structure it, make sure it includes all key pieces of information and is no longer than one page.

Keep Everything in Context

Something to keep in mind is that you could have more than one buyer persona depending on the type or number of products you sell. In addition to that, there are several phases of a buyer’s journey throughout the sales cycle. A buyer who is just discovering your brand will require different information than one who is a dedicated customer and is already convinced of your awesomeness.

So always be mindful of WHO you’re talking to and WHEN you’re talking to them.

Customize Your Message

You always want your content to be delivered to your audience within the most relevant context. According to Hubspot, customer-driven copy has the potential to help increase conversions by nearly 100%Statistics like this definitely make the case for getting up close and personal with your target audience.

After you’ve gone through this entire process, your buyer persona should feel as real to you as Bruno Alfonse felt to me all those years ago. Frame your one-page profile and display it on a wall somewhere. Moving forward, everything you do should be done with your new imaginary friend in mind.

Ben Cohen of the deliciously successful Ben and Jerry’s ice cream said it best: “When a business does something good for somebody, that somebody feels good about them!”. So you better know who that somebody is!

Learn more about how Buyer Personas fit into an overall marketing strategy in The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation.

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