Why You Need Audience Personas For Your Website Content

By Josh Barrer | Published May 3, 2022 | Categories: Web Development , Digital Marketing , SEO

cartoon persona avatars

It seems simple: When creating marketing content, you want your message to reach as many people as possible and inspire them to take action.

There's a conundrum though: overly broad and general content is, in many cases, less impactful. Trying to speak to every possible audience member can dilute your messaging and leave you with content that feels uninspired, boring, and hard to follow.

In other words, if you try too hard to reach everyone, you're likely to ensure that your message reaches no one.

On the other hand, if you're too specific in targeting a certain segment of your audience, you run the risk of turning off and losing the interest of other segments of that audience.

Like we said, it's a conundrum.

So what's the solution? Unfortunately, there's no one size fits all formula to unlock the right balance of specificity and universality in content. Careful revision of your content can help, and having a few readers with differing perspectives review it can go a long way to ensure your content is accomplishing what you need it to.

Those are back-end measures, though, after the content has been drafted. When you're in the initial content creation stage, writing to specifically defined audience personas can go a long way.

What is An Audience Persona?

group of students looking at computerEssentially, an audience persona is a character or profile that represents a segment of your audience. There are different approaches to personas, but generally, a good persona will include details about the persona's background, interests, what they're looking for, and most importantly, the best ways to communicate with them, both in terms of medium (such as email vs. social media) and tone (friendly and conversational vs. authoritative, for example).

Some personas will even include an image and name for the persona character, but don't think that personas are completely made up. A good persona is built from extensive research and data, incorporating real insights about your current and most desired audiences. That is then mixed with psychological insights, marketing expertise, and communication best practices.

How Should Personas Be Used?

For a typical content development project, you'll likely want to build three or four specific personas to represent all the key segments of your audience. The next step, then, is putting those personas to use.

persona exampleThe general purpose of the personas is to give you a clear and easily visualized representation of the audience you are creating content for. This is helpful in two ways. First, you can use your personas to better identify the purpose of a particular page or piece of content. A common problem in much web content is that a page's overall message is unclear and there are no clear calls to action (CTAs) for the reader to take next steps. But by using your personas to identify the primary audience of the page, you can more clearly identify what the page needs to accomplish and what actions you want that audience to take.

The other purpose of personas is to guide your content creation. Keep your personas in mind when you sit down to create content. Is the content meeting the fundamental needs of the primary personas you are writing to? Is it answering their questions? Is it discussing the subject matter in a tone and voice that's relatable to those persona types? If you can answer yes to those questions, you're on the right track.

Ideally, personas should help keep your content on track and on message. Don't try to make each page appeal to every persona (and every possible audience). Instead, identify the key personas for each page, and write to meet their needs. Then, be sure to include CTAs that speak to what you want those personas to do. (For example, the CTA for a prospective student persona—"apply now!"—will be different than for an alumni persona.)

How Can I Get Personas for My Site?

Building effective and useful personas requires a great deal of data analysis, market research, and advertising knowledge. Though it's a process you can certainly begin and accomplish yourself, a digital marketing agency like Beacon will bring in a great deal of expertise and a valuable outside perspective to assist you in putting them together.

Even better: when you partner with Beacon to create your personas, our content development team can then use those personas to craft custom content for your site, and can even provide web writing training sessions to get you and your team up to speed.

Contact us today to get started and our digital marketing experts will get to work developing personas and a full content strategy that will help ensure your site meets and exceeds all of your goals.

Let's get to work!

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