TOP Talk

Build a Strong Enough Foundation: How Personas Set Your Content Up for Success

Posted March 11, 2020 By Ashley Tate

Topics: Content, Content Optimization Guide

As a marketer, you know who tells your brand’s story. But when it comes time to optimize the content that’s spreading the word, the most critical question is, who are you telling that story to?

The answer: Personas. 

In other words, your audience. Your personas are the people you’re attempting to reach with your content and the foundation of your content optimization process. Without strong personas in place and an intimate understanding of them, optimizing and measuring the success of your content will be an uphill battle.

For example, say you’re Lin Manuel-Miranda, creator of the hit musical “Hamilton” (the inspiration for the Tier One Ultimate Guide to Content Optimization), and you’re trying to figure out who’s going to be most excited by the spin-offs of your musical. You might start with an obvious persona: musical theater fans. But content cannot live on one persona alone, so from there you could add rap music enthusiasts, history buffs, and so on and so forth. 

Personas allow you to define the key sectors of your target audience and ensure you’re addressing their needs. A high-level view is just the beginning — in order to reach these segments, you need to dive deeper:

Build Persona Palaces From Paragraphs

When it comes to personas, it’s hard to get too detailed, so leave no stone unturned. Personas should include everything from demographics and behavior patterns to education/income and spotlight key questions, interests, and concerns that are relevant to your company and its products/services. Additionally, personas should highlight where target audiences gather news, research, and recommendations.

What Did You Miss?

Listening and fact-gathering are integral to the persona and optimization process. We’d never knock a good old-fashioned Google search, but when it comes to persona research, the right tools can make all the difference:

  • Use listening tools like Brandwatch, Cision, Critical Mention, or Meltwater to monitor conversations and gather insights about your personas direct from the source.
  • Tap into Google Search Console and other SEO platforms like Brightedge and Marketing Muse to get a sense of common search queries used by the target audiences that are relevant to your brand.

Pro tip: Keep an eye on your competitors’ programs to identify potential whitespace and counter-programming opportunities.

Blow Them All Away

Once your buyer personas are fully developed, you’ll need a process to ensure that the content you create speaks to those key sections of your audience. At Tier One, we use a five-step assessment to help evaluate every piece of content and determine if (and how) it should be optimized. And it all starts with — you guessed it — personas. 

This process identifies where additional content repackaging opportunities exist and if they will have a high enough impact with key personas to warrant the extra time and budget to produce. It’s also worth noting that all of your content won’t be for all of your personas, but understanding who they are will help you get the most relevant content in front of the appropriate audiences.

In Tier One’s Ultimate Guide to Content Optimization we’ve compiled even more insights on how to identify and reach your key personas (plus how to test to make sure you’re hitting the mark). Get your copy here and take the next step toward creating content that tells your story — and satisfies your personas.

Download The Ultimate Guide to Content Optimization Now


Ashley Tate

About Ashley Tate

What motivates me? The desire to fill a blank page with engaging, informative content.