The Persona Path to Content Marketing

Guest blogger Sarah Gilbert is the content strategist for All Star. 

criminal-justice-personasThere are some new folks on the All Star team, and let’s just say, they don’t take up a lot of physical space.

We brought Chad, Amy, Andrew, Bree and Sarah to LeadsCon West. We introduced Rose, Bert, Mark, Jenny, Jake and Greg in the last couple of months.

Who are these people, and why are we bringing them everywhere we go? Well, they are our personas, of course, and anyone who has met with us in the last year knows All Star is all about them.

Developing an innate understanding of our consumer is crucial to our success. At All Star, we take many steps to ensure that we are producing the right kinds of content for the right user. We do this through developing buyer personas for each site, developing useful content for each persona through all stages of their decision-making cycle, and by constantly keeping the end goal in mind: a successful graduation and career for each of our students.

Narrowing down the field

Traditional demographic marketing is too broad and diverse to be able to target effectively. Research shows that out of ten people in your target audience, only one is interested in what you have to offer. That means you are wasting 90 percent of your time marketing to the other nine people! Instead, we direct our efforts toward finding targeted buyers, and we do this by developing personas.

When developing personas, we do look at the demographic data, but that does not paint the whole picture. Instead, we look at the behavior of the audience.

Typically we look at:

  • What are their interests?
  • Fears?
  • Activities?
  • Preferences?

Yes, it’s good to know if our students are typically 35-year-old females, but really, we care more about how much time they have for school, what their major objections are, how they plan to use their degree and what’s going to keep them motivated through a whole program.

So, how do we do this? If we don’t rely solely on data, how do we get a true picture of what our students are like? Well for one, we interview. We take the time to talk to people in the fields of the degrees and certificates we present on our site, and we interview current and potential students as well as program graduates.

Knowing our user

Understanding not only the initial intention of our site visitors (do they want to go to school?) but also following through on their life goals and motivations (making more money, providing for family) helps us get users not only to select a school of interest, but to enroll in that program and keep their motivation strong to go on to graduation.

Someone first looking for school, for example, is different than someone looking for continuing education. For one thing, their experience in the education space is varied. While one may need more explanation and hand-holding through topics like how to get financial aid and how to meet with an admissions advisor, another person may have a good base knowledge of all of this and instead wants to get right into program descriptions and tuition costs.

Getting our content seen

The other important thing when doing this persona research is figuring out how people consume content. We strive to provide a variety of content options based on our own persona research. Some of our personas prefer video content, while others like to read longer-form instructional content. In addition, some of our personas like how-to’s and guides and eBooks, so we provide those too.

Taking this sophisticated approach to marketing has changed the way our entire company looks at our site visitors. By putting names to our personas, it’s easy for us to visualize who we are creating content for, and who we are helping achieve their dream of going back to school. And, we are having a lot of fun with it to boot! If you want to learn more about how All Star is integrating personas into our culture, set up a business review with us or a call with our Business Development manager.

Share This

Share this post with your friends!