Building B2B buyer personas can be a great way to facilitate creation of targeted B2B content. But are you making the most of the personas you’ve spent so much time and energy to produce? Ardath Albee, from TDA Group partner Marketing Interactions, offers some tips for maximizing the value of personas with a persona makeover in this guest blog post.

You’ve spent the time, effort, and sweat equity to build B2B buyer personas. But when you look at them, you’re not quite sure what to use them for or how to do it. Perhaps it’s time to assess your personas and give them a makeover to strengthen their contribution to content marketing performance.

Here’s how to go about it:

Step 1: Ditch the personal demographics in favor of the professional traits

The obvious villain here is demographic information that doesn’t do a whit for improving your relevance. This includes data points such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Lifestyle

Does knowing the personal income level of a persona help you create better content when you’re selling the solution through him to his company?

Replace those inactive data points with professional traits such as:

  • How long the persona has spent in their career
  • If they tend to stay with one company and work their way up or jump around
  • What traits people appreciate in them, such as mentoring abilities, being very detail-oriented, or perhaps remaining calm under pressure
  • What professional certifications they hold
  • Professional associations they belong to
  • Degree of education—college, MBA, trade school, and so on

Why the switch? Because professional traits can tell you a lot about how to design your content based on voice, tone, and style.

For example, if the persona has been in her career for 20 years, you’d create content differently than you would if she was only two years out of college. The longer-term person knows much more about her industry, job role, and how to navigate the political landscape than a newcomer.

If they’ve got an MBA, your thought leadership will need to be more forward-leaning. And if they’re certified, the requirements of the certification can give you great insight into topics they may care about more than others in relation to the job they perform.

Tip: You can find a lot of this information by doing an advanced search on LinkedIn for people representative of your persona. Review a number of profiles and look for commonalities they share.

Step 2: Drill down into pain points and objectives

I see a lot of B2B buyer personas with high-level pain points and objectives such as:

  • Get products to market faster
  • Shorten time to revenue
  • Reduce customer churn
  • Break into new markets
  • Eliminate inefficiency in help-desk support
  • Increase security posture
  • Generate more leads

The list goes on. But the point is that there’s no specific context in those high-level phrases.

If I said to you, “I need to get products to market faster,” what would you suggest? How would you answer me? There could be a dozen or more ways to pursue that objective. Without understanding why achieving the objective is difficult, you have nowhere to go.

Your persona should tell you why the objective hasn’t been reached or why the problem has yet to be fixed, as well as what workaround they’re likely to be using in the meantime. Go find out.

Step 3: Connect the dots across components

One of the really cool things about intelligently built personas is their ability to help you connect the dots. The components of your persona should tie together to help you build a story.

A simple example could be:

  • Pain point: Our processes for product design and development are complex and lengthy and keep us from meeting deadlines for new product launches and feature upgrades.
  • Objective: Shave 20 percent off the product development timeline for new feature upgrades.
  • Question: What can I expect that visibility to help me discover about our product development process to streamline it—without losing quality?

If your B2B buyer persona contains insights like this, you’ve got the context you need to develop content that will resonate with the people in the target audience.

From the components above, you know:

  • Complex, lengthy processes are contributing to the problem
  • Controlled speed is the objective
  • The persona is unclear about how increased visibility will help

As a simplified example, this insight can guide you to develop content along the lines of:

  • Three ways visibility can help identify bottlenecks in the product development process (early)
  • How product development team collaboration can reduce redundancies and delays (mid)
  • How ABC Company automated product design processes to get products to market faster without sacrificing quality (late)

Of course, this assumes you sell a product or solution that addresses the issue.

The point is that your personas should help you develop the storylines and relevance that enable you to engage prospects across their buying process and move them from interest to intent to purchase.

There are other steps you can take, but these three will help you get your B2B buyer personas to inform your content marketing strategy to improve performance.

Want to find out how content can help you make the most of your personas? Let’s talk.