Guide to reader personasThe attention span of the average blog reader seems to be shrinking all the time, thanks to the age of mobile and the fact we have more content than we can possibly digest on the other end of our smartphones at any given moment.

Research from Canada actually found that the average human attention span has fallen to around eight seconds. That’s less than a goldfish. So, to prevent your painstakingly crafted blog content getting skimmed and binned in those eight precious seconds, you need to make sure that it pulls all the tricks out of the bag to grab the attention or and engage your target readers. And one of the best ways to ensure your content is perfectly honed to this end, is to create reader personas to hit your target audience.

Can you describe the reader your company blog is aimed at off the top of your head? If you can’t then it’s likely your content could veer off-centre.

It’s all very well writing and sharing the sort of content you personally find interesting – but it is your target demographic you are hoping to hook, not yourself. Even a vague idea of your target audience – such as aiming your blog at potential customers – is hardly enough. You need to know your readers’ job titles, motivations, concerns and responsibilities in order to perfectly tailor your content to meet their needs. Building a reader persona will clarify to everyone in your content marketing team just who your readers really are. Here are a few top tips for creating these all-important profiles:

1. Delve into your stats

There are a few excellent tools to help you delve into your key demographic. Tools such as Alexa and Google Analytics will help you pinpoint either your own or a competitor (who has the same target audience you’re trying to reach) details, including gender, age and browsing locations. Collect as much data as you can on your readers – the more information you have, the better you can hone your content, tone of voice and structure to deliver what it is they want.

2. Talk to your current readers

The best people to provide information about your target audience is, well, your target audience. Try conducting a survey on your current customers and readers, focusing on the challenges and issues that they had which your company was able to help with. In an ideal world, you want to hone your content to catch them early in the buying cycle, answering specific questions or solving problems that they have early on before hitting them with the product-specific information. As a follow-up you might want to send out content ideas to see how well they are received as well as asking for free-form ideas too.

3. Consider the type of content your reader prefers

Different audiences prefer different types of content, and you need to find out how your readers like best to digest their posts. Is it the written word, infographics or video that they prefer to consume? Do they frequent Twitter or are they more active on Facebook? An excellent way to find out these details is to scour the web for relevant forums or a site such as Reddit where you can find a variety of audiences eager for information on their chosen subject. Subreddits are like mini forums where you can scroll through the most popular and check out the most upvoted content to find out what the readers are most interested in and in what format they prefer.

4. Pull it together

Pull the information together to describe a particular persona. Give your reader a name and describe their situation and their interests according to your aforementioned research to present a vivid picture of the reader you are writing for. You may even have more than one reader persona, perhaps different elements of what your company offers will appeal to the different personas, or perhaps they will digest and use your content in a slightly different way. However, each piece of content you design ought to be constructed with a clear reader persona in mind.

If you need assistance constructing the right content for your readers, contact us at M2 Bespoke to find out how we might be able to help.