Writing content for a website is easy. It is difficult to write quality, search engine friendly content for a website. Writing great research and user-friendly content for your website is, well, quite difficult. There’s a lot to consider when trying to engage your audience, because you’re not writing for one audience, but for many. And all of them have their own personalities and motivations!
When creating engaging content, there are two concepts you need to first understand: why visitors are on your site and what they want to find. These two concepts can be translated into two words: personas and personalities.
Persona = motivation (what the visitor needs, why he is on your site)
Personality = temperament (how they navigate, what they need to see or read to find what they want)
If you want to create content that engages with your audience and motivates them to take the conversion action you want, you need to get inside the mind of the visitor. Know what they want and why, then you can create content that engages readers on their level and allows your content to meet their specific needs.
I’ll cover the personality aspect of writing in another post. Here, we’ll look at how to create personas that will help you understand your visitors’ motivations, why they’re on your site, and how your content can convert them based on that knowledge.
Use personas to see the needs of your visitors
Because there can be dozens, if not hundreds, of reasons a visitor might come to your site, it’s easy to get bogged down trying to develop a persona for each possibility. Don’t get stuck in this trap. With a little work, you can turn it all into a handful of personas that you can use to create content that meets virtually any need your potential customers have.
I’ve developed three very basic characters that can provide a solid framework for just about any visitor. It’s by no means exhaustive, nor will they work for all types of sites, but it can give you a general idea of how to quickly create a character you can work with. You may want to put more effort into analyzing your site visitors specifically, but this should give you a good start.
Persona “how to”
This person is an information seeker. They are not necessarily looking to buy a product or service, but want to learn how to do it themselves. This visitor loves checklists, how-to guides, videos, and any other digital information they can get their hands on. Basically, they are seekers of information and knowledge. Usually they are looking for free information, but some are willing to pay if the value is there.
Example: Athena goes to a baby products site to find out how to properly install a car seat in her Raptor. Her goal is to learn how to fit the seat correctly, with minimal work, and without teaching her baby, Hera, how to say “fracking”, “fracked up”, “frack it” or any of her variables.
How-to videos or step-by-step instructions give Athena and her husband, Helo, exactly what they’re looking for. This kind of free how-to content doesn’t create immediate sales, but it does build brand loyalty. Athena may never become a customer, but she may share information about your site with Starbuck, who also has a child. Or, Athena can post about it on her blog, sharing your content (and brand name) with all 12 colonies!
The “I Care” Persona
These people are usually researching something close to their hearts and a thoughtful approach is required. They are passionate about a subject and probably consider themselves to be extremely knowledgeable, even “expert”. Anything less than authoritative is unlikely to leave them impressed. Your job is to show them how your product or service is going to meet their needs and convince them that it’s the best solution.
Example: Gaeta visits a baby products site looking for a safe and reliable car seat. He read (on your site?) about the importance of car seats, which car seats have better safety ratings, and learned how to install them correctly in a number of spaceships. His goal is to buy the best possible seat, whatever the price. Whistles and bells are a secondary concern. If you can provide the information that meets Gaeta’s information needs and you have the product in stock, you have a reliable customer.
They’re the type who don’t really know what they want but don’t care about much other than “how do I get this (or do that) quickly?” They have a need, but don’t know how best to meet that need. They just want a product or service that gives them the desired result.
Example: Tigh needs a car seat. To him (and Ellen, his wife), all car seats are essentially the same. They don’t understand why one is more expensive than the other, unless it comes with apps that directly exploit the CIC or allow them to order their next bottle (their own or the baby’s) via a device connected to the network. Most likely, Tigh will choose the cheapest car seat available, as long as it works and he has a place to hold his water bottle. Given the right information in the right way, Tigh can be persuaded to pay more for certain features.
You can see how each of these personas gives you ammunition to create content that will meet everyone’s needs and expectations. Some content may stand alone for each character, but it is possible to incorporate elements (or links) for each of them into a single page. The better your personas, the more targeted your content will be and the more likely it will produce the conversions you want.
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