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Persona Creation Persona Development Personas

“How does a founder go about creating buyer personas for a start-up content marketing agency?”

Quora question: “How does a founder go about creating buyer personas for a start-up content marketing agency?”

My answer below.

Ten steps:

(i) Define your target market by industry.

For example, three industries we want to target with our content marketing services: (1) Health, (2) Insurance, and (3) Online Gaming.

(ii) Define your target market by country.

For example, Switzerland, Qatar, Germany.

(iii) Define your target market by size (small, medium, or large companies).

For example, we want to target Large health companies, Large insurance companies, and SME Online Gaming companies.

(iv) Find out who are the people in these companies that make decisions about buying content marketing services (their job titles).

For example, Large companies have Marketing Executives, smaller ones might have Marketing Managers.

(v) Now, you have two job positions, three industries, and three countries. That’s 2 x 3 x 3 = 12 persona segments.

For each segment, locate 5–10 real people. You can locate matching people from LinkedIn (search using regular search or Sales Navigator).

(vi) Contact these people directly and ask to interview them about their content marketing needs.

Specifically make sure to mention this is not a sales call, but an interview to learn more about them.

(vii) Conduct the interviews.

Make notes, and record the interviews to analyze them later (ask permission to record).

(viii) Analyze the recordings for key characteristics that persona segment has.

For example, pain points (relating to content marketing), needs (relating to content marketing), willingness to outsource (relating to content marketing).

(ix) Find patterns that are common between the 12 persona segments. Based on these patterns, reduce the number of personas.

For example, 12 segments can become 3 personas.

(x) After refining the number of personas, give your personas a name and picture. Write each of them a description that includes their pain points, needs, and willingness to outsource.

Add direct interview quotes that support this information. Now you’re done.

By Joni Salminen

Dr. Joni Salminen works as a Scientist at Qatar Computing Research Institute, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Turku School of Economics, University of Turku. His research interests are heavily focused on personas, including topics such as automatic persona generation from social media data (YouTube, Facebook, Google Analytics), persona perceptions, biases in data-driven personas, optimal number of personas, etc.