How To Create Online Personas

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The whole idea behind content marketing is to create conversations. Creating online personas is an effective tool when trying to figure out who’s on the opposite end of those conversations. We all have heard the saying, ‘great leaders are great listeners’.

In this case, creating online personas is all about asking the right questions and finding the right answers. Once you have found the answers to those questions, then you can start creating content around your target audience. The most important factor in creating online personas for your target audience is to tailor your content back to your product or service of focus.

Depending on what your goal or objective may be, will determine how deep your online personas need to go to communicate with your target audience.

For example, if you’re a music marketer, do you need to know what your target audience likes to eat?

Yes and no.

I like to think that music and food operate on the same platform when it comes to online personas. Why? Everyone eats and no matter where you are in the World — culturally — music can be always be viewed in the same light.

For marketing purposes, let’s say you have an event that you need to create an online persona for. One of the first questions that you can ask is:

What does my target audience like to eat?

By answering this question, you open up the possibility for partnerships and feeding your target audience with the help of their favorite food truck. Effectively harnessing that gut-brain connection through music and food. This is a great way to create brand affinity for all parties involved.

If you’re a music marketer and you’re interested in promoting a new project. One of the first questions you need to ask is where does my target audience like to consume music? Mobile, desktop or CDs? Answering these questions can have a heavy impact on your distribution strategy and where you decide to spend your marketing dollars.

Creating an online persona for your target audience should start with asking the right questions. Always remember online personas are in place to serve the people. Your online personas will be determined by where people are in the process and what type of service/product that you are providing. Lets go over some starter questions to begin with.

  • Where/what do they eat?
  • Where are they from? Local crowd or national crowd?
  • Are they mobile or desktop users?
  • Do they use tablets or iPads?
  • How do they get from Point A to Point B? Public Transportation? Scooters? Personal vehicles?
  • Do they cook or order take-out/delivery?
  • Do they shop online or visit brick-and-mortar locations?
  • Are they single? In a committed relationship?
  • How do they spend their time?
  • Are they students or professionals?
  • How much money do they earn (on average) per year? Disposable income?
  • What is the highest level of education?

These are some example questions that you can ask to start building out online personas for your marketing campaign and/or event. Now, let’s check out how you can find the right answers that speak to the right people.

Finding The Right Answers

To effectively create content that speaks to your target audience and connects with your brand, you need to answer these four essential questions.

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. How can you evoke emotion?
  3. Where do they consume content?
  4. How can you reach them where they live?

Every thing that you’ll read in this article will be based around learning more about your customers and creating the infrastructure to support them where they consume your content the most.

Why Are Online Personas Important?

An online persona is an identity profile for your customers. Not necessarily a real-live human being, just a profile that is designed to pinpoint what people care about and how they consume content. Online personas can help you gain a deeper knowledge of your user outside of what channels they use to communicate and what products they frequently buy.

Creating online personas should be viewed as an ongoing project, as technology and data continue to evolve. Reaching customers who consume your content will allow you to pinpoint behavioral patterns and purchasing power. Activities like purchasing decisions, behavioral patterns and motivations are held in higher regard when it comes to identifying your target audience.

This can improve your overall marketing campaigns, social media outreach and use of technology. Gary Vee is a great example of a brand that spans across multiple online personas. He is a person who is fairly prevalent within the hip hop community and can still be considered a corporate consultant for some of the biggest brands in the world.

That is the power of creating online personas. The act ‘researching’ in itself will allow you to better connect with the people that matter the most, regardless of location and demographic. This is an especially important when it comes to content creation.

How To Create An Online Persona

If you’re creating content for consumption, online personas can help you to identify who you’re talking to and gain a better understanding of who’s consuming your content for a number of reasons including:

  • Achieving a task
  • Entertainment
  • Educating themselves
  • Making a purchase (product or service)

Another reason behind creating online personas is to keep your content fresh and not to depersonalize the information/product you are offering. Online personas are about bringing the two together to continuously meet the needs of your target audience.

Here are three ways you can create an online persona:

  1. Collect information — You can present surveys, review comments on social media, use Google Analytics, online reviews, etc. Data is key when it comes to creating online personas. Remember, you want to focus on behavioral patterns and purchasing decisions vs. just demographics. This will help you effectively address needs when it comes to creating content and forming strategic partnerships.
  2. Identify groups —  If your audience self-identifies this is a BIG plus. Why? There should already be a fabric in place for you to piggy back off of when it comes to content consumption. A great example of a ‘self-identifying’ group are writers on Twitter. If you follow the hashtag #WritingCommunity, you’re probably aware of the strength of this flourishing community and its ability to connect similar mindsets worldwide. By effectively, identifying your target audience within the community you can begin to create content tailored to their needs.
  3. What are the significant characteristics of the target audience? — This can include everything from the technology being used to the wording of choice. This can include core values, the emotions being evoked from content consumption and the connecting the dots to ensure this online persona is appropriate for your brand.

It’s essential that you develop a deep connection to your online personas. This will allow you to dive deeper into who your ‘ideal’ customer may be. Going past demographics will help you place a greater emphasis on understanding your target audience.

As with technology, take the time to go over your online personas once every year to determine if they are still relevant to objectives, goals and your organization’s over content strategy.

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