With increasing advances in technology, it can become second nature to lean on it. Now, when faced with a marketing problem, you just have to plug in a few data points and await an answer.
It’s not surprising really. Discussions over whether artificial intelligence will replace content writers have become commonplace. And “data” has become a marketing buzzword of sorts. New tools emerge daily for calculating, interpreting and predicting every single move audiences make online.
There’s something to be said for good old-fashioned brainstorm sessions, though. Here are three old-school tactics that still apply to the development of your brand’s digital audience personas.
Also referred to as an affinity diagram, affinity maps are commonplace among those in the UX community for properly translating potential user behaviors into functional online experiences. In relation to content marketing audience personas, however, the technique can be just as useful. There’s actually surprising overlap between the two fields. Whether a UX designer or content creator, you’re producing an experience for audiences—one that should encourage certain actions based on the audience’s needs and tendencies.
Affinity mapping typically involves team members blocking off time to gather in a room and brainstorm. Equipped with sticky notes, markers, a whiteboard and curiosity, teams jot down any and all assumptions that might be had about their potential audiences. This could include audience needs impacting their decisions to seek out certain types of content or the product and/or service itself. In turn, this method encourages conversation and forces the team to think of their audience as more than just a follower number.
Another great way to approach the development of audience personas is through focus groups. Using backend information on current customers, focus on a sampling of individuals that represent a broad spectrum of potential buyers—i.e. those with recurring purchases (power users), one and dones, those with an account but no purchases made, etc. From there, whatever contact information is made available to the team, you can begin setting up times for phone and in-person interviews.
If you’ve yet to gather any users at all, you’ll have to seek out cold audiences based on assumed demographics. In either situation, offering some kind of compensation will most likely be necessary for generating interest. Put together a list of any and all questions you’d like to use in determining audience needs and wants related to your product and content offerings. Consider recording the sessions as they happen as well to then distribute to other members of the team for further discussion.
While some turn to digital tools for assistance when conducting research, the tactic in and of itself is certainly underrated. As a society, we’ve become accustomed to receiving answers instantly. But because of the complexity and moving pieces involved with a buyer persona, the answer is not always as simple as “if this, then that.”
Turn to census data, dig into backend information from your brand’s website, send out surveys to active users and conduct onsite surveys in situations where it makes sense. The more hands-on you can be as a marketer when it comes to your audience, the better your understanding will become for who they truly are as people.
Any good content marketing plan requires an understanding of audience personas. For more insights on either their development or how to translate personas into an actionable content strategy, contact PowerPost today!