Know your audience: How I build “micro-personas” to make my presentations and emails more effective

If you want to get my attention, just tell a potty joke or compliment my creativity. It’s really that simple – doesn’t matter what you want to tell me, sell me, or convince me, there is one simple way to capture my heart and my mind. Okay, so I’m not quite that shallow – but truth be told, it’s absolutely true that I am more interested in how what you are saying applies to me (and what I get out of it) than any other angle.

Most people are like that, matter of fact. What’s in it for you? Much has been written by many other smarty-pants-es about how and why to build buyer personas. I’m a fan of Ardath Albee’s work in this area, among others – she’s shown me how to effectively apply the buyer persona methodology to B2B and technology. At the core of buyer personas is getting to what’s on your buyer’s mind – essentially, framing your content plan and the ensuing content you create around the things that are top of mind to the audience you seek to attract and engage.

Tonight I was building a powerpoint deck (eek!) to share the work my team has done recently on buyer personas with a diverse group of people from product marketing, public relations, program marketing, etc. I started with the obvious angle – the state of content, why it needs fixed, how personas will get us there, blah blah blah blah blah.

And then I thought back to the reason we created personas (personi?) to begin with – to make sure the content we are creating addresses the needs of our desired audience – hence, attracting them and ideally (if our content actually delivers effectively) helping them make good decisions (i.e. CHOOSE US!)

So why would I lead my pitch to a room full of non-content-strategists with my own stupid list of reasons why I think personas matter? My initial crack at the presentation I was building essentially told them why I cared, why I thought it should matter to them, and what the company – not them – got out of the whole deal. Really. Bad. Approach.  Read More…

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