Writing content that speaks to your personas is crucial to the success of your product and a key part of any content strategy. We all know that badly written content is an immediate turn-off to anyone considering purchasing a product. Something as simple as a spelling mistake or typo can create distrust in a brand, while the tone you set in the text needs to be carefully handled so as not to alienate any readers whether they be non-native speakers, or simply non-tech.
But it’s not just about writing engaging, informative and authoritative content that builds trust in the reader. As a content creator you first have to know who that reader is, why they’re there and what their goals and expectations are. This is why once you’ve undertaken extensive user research your next step is to create your target persona (or personas).
With your target persona in mind you are then able to write useful content which answers the very particular questions that your personas have at each stage in the customer journey. In this post we’re going to outline the process you need to follow to produce content that speaks directly to your users and which gives them the information they need to convert and become loyal, returning customers.
Who are you writing for?
Although a persona is fictional and not simply a description of one particular user, it should always be entirely representative of real users in order for it to be effective. You should bear in mind that the target personas who you are writing for are not the customers you dream of having, but the customers you either already have or who are out there requiring your services. Personas need to represent a selection of this real audience and their behaviors. In the UX design process user personas are built once the user research – both qualitative and quantitative – has been performed and analyzed. A UX designer will also look at web analytics performed on an online platform to further inform the personas.
Once collected together this data gives you a tidy example of exactly who is interested in using your product, as well as their desires, goals and needs. Crucially it gives you an idea of why they have come to you for that product and how they interact with it.
If you’re new to creating personas, check out our beginner’s guide.
The customer journey
Once you have your target personas solidified, preferably with a name and face, you should be able to write content for them, right? Well, yes and no. Although you are in a much better position to write relevant and useful content for your users, you need to remember that each of them are coming to your site at a different phase in their customer journey, and you’ll need to create content that answers the questions they have at each phase.
There are three phases which help us categorize a user’s needs.
As is implied from the name, the Awareness phase is when the user is new to your product and is looking for more information. They have realised they have a problem they are looking to solve, or an opportunity they’d like to take up.
Content that addresses this phase needs to attract your target persona, so this is where SEO comes to the fore. Include relevant keyword strings, (words and phrases that your persona is searching for), answer commonly asked questions in the field, and inform through high-quality, authoritative content that is written by influential people in the field. The best format for this is a blog.
The Consideration phase is a step beyond Awareness. The user at this stage has more knowledge of what’s available to them, has clearly identified their problem or opportunity and has even started to try to solve it themselves. However it is at this stage that they realize they cannot do it alone, and may need some help defining their strategy.
Content that addresses this phase needs to convert. Downloadable guides, worksheets and content that adds value like video tutorials or podcasts all work well at this stage. Remember the content here should be actionable, not just informative. You need to demonstrate to the user that they cannot solve their problem alone. Gated content is a great way for you to collect the email addresses of users at this stage so you can nurture them even further down the funnel via newsletters personalised to meet their specific needs.
It is during the Decision phase that the user defines their strategy, method or approach to solving their original problem or making the most of their opportunity. It’s now that they are weighing up their options and comparing your product directly with your competitor’s.
Content that addresses this phase is usually found on the landing pages of your site. Create infographics that compare your product to your competitors to help your user make a decision. Help the user weigh up the pros and cons before they make their final decision. Case studies and testimonials are also valuable in providing reassurance and third-party validation.
By combining the knowledge you have of your target personas and the customer journey you can create high-value content that really speaks to your audience at whatever stage they are at. Don’t underestimate the importance of tailoring your content to the actual users of your site, rather than the users you think you have; done properly you should soon see your conversion rate soar.
All images created by Fré Sonneveld.