Letter #2: Understanding your audience’s language and preferences better

An actionable tip to write content that resonates with your readers.

Bonjour, folks (can you tell I’ve rewatched Emily in Paris? 🤓)

We ended the first issue with the need to know your audience inside out to write better stories — or better anything, really. 

The problem? Buyer personas have become a one-and-done job. Your team probably has one too. But do you refer to it as often as you’d like to? 

So I talked to Adrienne Barnes of Best Buyer Persona who has been creating (some much-needed) noise in the content marketing industry re: creating useful buyer personas. 

I asked her: 

  • A mistake she’s made that you can learn from.

  • An actionable tip to get you one step closer to knowing your audience (and creating relevant content).

  • And, a secret tip to use buyer personas the right way.

Let’s dig in: 

👉 Learn from Adrienne’s mistake: “Don’t take the buyer persona as fact and 100% accurate.”

“Many of the personas being used by marketing teams aren’t helpful when it comes to creating content. They don’t help to inform word choice, values, pain points, level of awareness, etc,” Adrienne shares. 

“I would accept the buyer persona, write with what information I had, and then the pieces fell flat and sounded like a piece that just needed to rank on Google.”

Are you doing that too? Change your course, my friend. 

👉 Do this today: Start with creating reader personas. 

“A reader persona is very specific to the audience reading the content — they may not be buyers or users but they are an important part of the audience,” explains Adrienne. 

So how do you go about creating a reader persona to learn your audience’s problems, questions, tone of voice, and more? “Talk to them.”

“Before you begin working long term with a client or in a company, talk to a handful of customers. You’ll quickly gain insight on what kind of content the readers actually need, and not just what an SEO tool tells you to create.”

👉 The secret tip you need to know to write engaging content: “Listen to the words customers are using.”

“I call these relational keywords — they show the relationship your customers have with your product,” Adrienne says. “These should be the guiding point for all content. Know what they call your tool, how they refer to your service or features.”

In short, “speaking their language allows them to relate easier and more quickly with your content.”

So today’s takeaways: 

  • Create reader personas by talking to your customers. 

  • Pay attention to the words customers use in their chat with you. 

  • Speak your audience’s language to write relatable, engaging content. 

🎁  Resource: Best buyer persona database [free]. 

And before I bid farewell, a question for you: what are you doing to learn more about your readers?

Have a wonderful rest of the week,