Who is your audience?
I know for me it’s very tempting to just sit down and start to write. An idea is bubbling in my head, waiting to appear on screen. But, if I want my story to resonate, I need to do some homework first.
Effective content writing takes time and planning. Before I embark on any type of blogging or writing project, I stop and think about who I am trying to reach. First, I grab a piece of paper (or open Evernote) and write down who I am actually trying to serve. Now, I need to get pretty specific here. For example, before starting this blog, I didn’t just identify my audience as “people interested in blogging.” Taking it a few steps further, I narrowed it down to professional service providers just beginning to run their own practices or businesses and establishing a presence online.
I think this step is actually very difficult. Part of me doesn’t want to exclude anyone, thinking it might limit my exposure. So, I want to make sure everyone can gain something from what I say. In reality, the opposite is true. By writing to a specific audience, or personas, we actually have a broader impact. We resonate with the audience we do reach.
Creating Ideal Client Personas
How do we go about identifying our ideal audience? I like to start by thinking about who my ideal reader or client would be. I ask questions like “who would this person be,” or “what service/product would they want?” Additionally, I like to think about where in the buying process this person is. Finally, we all want to know if this person is a good fit for us and our business.
Of course, often we need some help getting started. I have put together this little list of attributes that help me narrow down and create my personas:
- Role. What role does this person play in your story? Is he/she a buyer, client, reader, colleague, or friend? Also, what role does this person play in his or her own life? Is he/she a business owner, employee, stay-at-home mom? You get the idea.
- Name. Give the person a name, so you can get more specific about who that person is.
- Background. Similarly, identify the person’s background, such as age, gender, education level, etc., to start building a good picture of the person.
- Profile. Have fun with this one! What does your persona like or dislike? How does this person have fun, or what kind of sense of humor does he or she have?
- Scenario. Think about how this person finds you or your stories. Is it from an on-line search, a networking event, referral, or chance meeting?
- Goals. What does this person want? This is absolutely crucial to understand about your client persona.
- Challenges. Likewise, what challenges does this person face?
- Can you help? This might seem obvious, but make sure you can help your persona reach his or her goals or tackle the challenges.
Get the Right Fit
Now, this feels like a lot of work. And it is! But, it will pay off. After going through this entire process, and creating a few ideal client personas, take a break. Then, go back and honestly look them over. Can you imagine working or connecting with each of them and what would that be like?
I’ll share from personal experience. When I have taken the time to go through this process, I actually have an easier time writing when I do sit down. Thinking about who I am writing for, and getting excited about helping and connecting with that person, helps me focus and stay on track. Hopefully, that spirit shines through, and my work resonates with my target audience.
The Content Coach says use the Persona Worksheet below to help you get started creating your ideal client personas.