Defining your audience personas is crucial if you want to create successful content.

But if you aren’t sure what that means, you’ll want to keep reading.

In this month’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all your audience persona… What exactly it is, what you should know about your audience before writing your next piece of content, and more. If you’re ready to learn all about it, let’s dive into the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Defining Audience Personas for Better SEO Results with Diana Richardson

Our awesome friend, Diana Richardson, joined as a guest host again to share her expertise with us. She’s a social media and community manager at SEMrush, which is one of our favorite tools for SEO. Diana has previously hosted our chat to talk about optimizing web content and designing an SEO and content creation workflow. Be sure to check those out too!

Q1: What exactly is an audience persona and why is it so important?

If you haven’t already determined your audience personas, now is the time to get started. Here’s what that means for you so you can see just how valuable it is to know this information:

As Diana said, defining your audience personas is essential creating a personality description about your target audience. You want to know their demographics and interests in order to create the content that’s most appealing to them. She suggests using website data and surveys as just a couple of ways to gather this kind of information. You never want to assume you know things about your audience.

By knowing these deeper details about your audience, you can develop a stronger connection with them and you’ll understand them better. This gives you more of an opportunity to deliver what they need the most.

When it comes to your audience, you want to know who they are and what they like. Then, you can start developing content accordingly.

This persona you’ve created will then become the basis of all your marketing and sales activities. As Zala said, it’s going to help you target the right audience at the right time. That’s pretty powerful!

And if you want some help with the process of defining your audience personas, I shared an awesome post from our very own blog here at Express Writers. Give it a read!

Q2: What characteristics do you need to know about your audience before creating content?

You really need to go beyond the basic demographics like age and location. Here are some other things you should know about the people reading your content:

This breakdown from Diana is spot-on! Knowing what your audience wants, what they need, what their intent is, what their interests are, and any life events they’re experiencing can all play a role in shaping your content.

A good question to ask yourself is, “What questions keep my audience up at night?” You can use your content to address their biggest pain points and provide the solution they need. They’ll be sure to keep coming back if you do that consistently.

Another thing to consider outside of the essential characteristics is how your audience likes to consume content. After all, it’s important to create content they’ll enjoy consuming.

It also helps to know what your audience values. How can you connect with them in this way by creating content that’s aligned to their values?

Q3: Can you share any strategies for coming up with topics that your audience will be genuinely interested in?

These ideas will certainly help you fill up your content calendar for the next month!

Once you’ve discovered your audience personas, you’ll know who you’re looking to connect with online. Then, social listening really comes in handy. You can join in on their conversations to learn first-hand what they are interested in learning about.

Lexie uses the topic research feature within SEMrush to find popular topics. From there, you can see if there are ways to tie those topics to what you’d normally like to write about. And you can take it a step further by asking your audience if it’s something they’d like. It never hurts to just ask them their thoughts.

Another way to find hot topics is to use Google Trends. It’s smart to write about timely topics because it can help you get your content in front of a much wider audience. However, you always want to make sure it’s relevant to your work and your audience.

Even more great ideas! Surveying your audience allows you to get answers directly from the source. What could be easier than that? And BuzzSumo is another tool that will show you popular topics, so it can really come in handy.

Social media is a great tool for learning about your audience’s interests in terms of content. You can join Facebook groups, for example, to see what they’re talking about. Just be sure to find groups that your target audience is actively participating in. Twitter chats are helpful for this as well.

Another great resource that Megha suggested is Quora. It provides another opportunity to see the conversations your audience is having online. She also suggests paying attention to the content your competitors are producing. Can you put your own spin on some of the topics they cover?

Q4: How does your audience impact keyword research in the early phases of content creation?

Because your audience does, in fact, influence your keywords. After all, you want to use keywords that reflect how they’re searching online.

Knowing your audience will give you an idea of what they’re searching online, as well as how they’re searching. You’re then able to choose keywords accordingly so your content will (hopefully) rank for the terms they’re Googling. Diana also said their intent will play a role here, whether that’s purchasing, educating, etc.

Rachel gets her keywords straight from her audience, thanks to the queries they’re sharing online. Once you figure out where they spend their time online, you’ll likely to start to see the same kind of questions and you can address them.

This presents a great opportunity to discover some untapped keywords you can start developing content for.

And it’ll all come together to help you choose topics, keywords, and produce content that appeals to them at each stage of their buyer journey.

Q5: Does your audience shape things such as the content formats you create and the tone you use when developing content? How so?

If not, it should! Your audience will tell you what types of content they like the most. Here’s how you can figure that out:

Different personas will require different tones and content formats. You’ll want to tailor your content as necessary to ensure it appeals to the person who will be consuming it.

Written, video, audio… They’re all great options, but are they right for your audience? That’s what you need to figure out before you plan out your content.

You can even go deeper than general formats. For instance, if you know your audience loves blog posts, figure out what kind of blog posts they like. Tutorials, lists, long-form? The data will show you what they’re most drawn to so you can create that more frequently.

And don’t forget that your unique skills play a role here too. You want to embrace what you really shine at. For example, you’re great on video and your audience loves it, you’re golden!

At the end of the day, you need to put your audience first. When you deliver what they want and need, it gives them a reason to keep coming back. And as Zala said, it’s not about publishing content for the sake of publishing. You want your audience to do something with your content.

Q6: How will you know if your content is truly reaching the right people and appealing to them?

If your content isn’t reaching the right people, does it even matter? These are the stats to watch out for:

Pay attention to the feedback you get from people. That’s a good indication of what they’re enjoying from you. You can also take things a step further and send out a survey to get feedback directly.

Rachel loves to spread the word when she comes across a great piece of content. Consider doing the same when you read an amazing blog post or watch a fun video. Sharing the work others have created definitely puts some good vibes out into the world and people may feel inclined to do the same for you.

When people start taking action in some way, you know your content resonated with them. And that really shows that you’re on the right path.

Know your goals first and then track accordingly. What do you want to get out of the content you’re creating? Use your analytics to help you figure out if you’re getting to that end result. For example, if a specific blog post was meant to drive conversions, did it actually happen?

Engagement and leads are great examples that your content is working. Plus, it’s always nice when others are saying good things about you.

Q7: Are there any brands that have done a great job at speaking directly to their ideal audience persona?

You can get a lot of inspiration from these brands:

There’s no denying that our friends at SEMrush are awesome at knowing their audience! She also suggests checking out Morning Brew and Netflix for some inspiration.

Kaitlyn seconds the Netflix recommendation. They really know how to have fun with their audience via social media.

While bots are helpful in some cases, there’s nothing like talking to an actual person. The brands that take the time to make a genuine response are the ones that truly stand out. Rachel suggests brands like Netflix and Peloton to inspire you.

HubSpot, Grammarly, and ARK Invest are the recommendations from the team at Zengrowth. Definitely check them all out if you haven’t already!

We’d love to have you join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars for the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. And follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated.