Apply Personas to Your Blog Marketing Strategy

This is a guest article by Ann Smarty, the founder of the best guest blogging community MyBlogGuest. Join the discussion and voice your opinion by following our guest blogging guidelines.

Personas are user-profiles (or user groups) a website owner uses to categorize his website audience. They represent the typical users of a website or a service.

By creating personas for your site you can better understand your readers and easier anticipate their behavior, reactions and preferences. To create personas for your website audience the first thing you will need to do is to build hypothesis trying to imagine who a typical user of your site is, what he does and what he likes.

So what makes a good persona?

What can describe or characterize each persona of your website? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to categorize each persona of your website user base:

  • Who are they and and where do they come?
  • How old are they?
  • What’s their background? Education?
  • What’s their income?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • etc etc

Each persona should have a name and even a picture for you to better imagine it.

TomThis is Tom. Tom is a U.S. high-school student who loves geeky stuff. He doesn’t go out often – instead he is sitting in front of his computer. To doesn’t make his own living yet – his parents support him. Tom loves…

Ultimately you will have at least 4-5 personas and you will be able to better understand how to tailor your website marketing efforts to each of them! Of course, you can go more descriptive and creative in names and let the persona names speak for themselves:

  • Geeky Tom
  • Loyal Troy
  • Howard the Skeptic
  • Busy Judith
  • etc

Where do I get all this info on each persona?

The first tool you have is your head: use your imagination and your outlook. If you have a blog, your life is much easier because you regularly talk to your readers via comments.

Your website traffic analytics is another valuable tool. It will let you analyze what your readers tend to respond to and how (you can use Google Analytics goals to get a better understanding of your readers’ behavior). Google Analytics is free and it will show you detailed territorial info as well languages your readers speak, browsers they use, how loyal they are, if they use mobiles, etc.

Google Analytics personas

Is there any way to test my personas?

Yes, for sure. After you have the initial list of your personas and the characteristics of each, try testing each with help of online questionnaires. Polls, surveys and quizzes will work for that purpose.

I personally prefer quizzes because they can be more fun to take. Who doesn’t like quizzes? You can actually use them to engage your site readers and hear back from them.

ProProfs online testing utility is a great tool to create nice interactive quizzes. They support various forms of fun including images and videos. I have played with the tool quite a lot and had a fun experiment in the past trying to categorize my readers’ Twitter habits. I had great feedback and lots of insight into how my blog readers prefer to Tweet.

ProProfs has various types of analytics:

  • You can see what each user answered (think how much help that would be for your persona building!)
  • You can access charts and graphics summarizing all the answers:

Quiz analytics

So how do we apply this to practice?

Good question. Here are a few tutorials teaching you to apply theory to practice and actually learn to use the personas in various website development and marketing strategies:

  1. How to Apply Personas to E-mail Marketing: Tailor every offer to a separate persona. Sending a 10% off deal to a persona who wants luxury at any cost won’t get you much.
  2. Personas for Keyword Research: The days of guessing at keyword research are over;
  3. How to use Personas & Scenarios in web design and web page design: Personas are an extremely powerful design tool, which help you to visualize an end-product that you can be confident will suit your users’ needs by helping them achieve their goals, and help you test your success.

Post image via Flickr

  • Hi Ann,

    I like this, a constructive use of the imagination to figure out how to better serve your readers.

    Thanks for sharing your insight on personas.

    Ryan Biddulph

  • What a great idea~! I have never heard of this in the context of blogging, so it has given me some great ideas =)

    What do you think of creating personas to be guest writers on your own blog? Thanks for getting the mind started today~!

    Anita Nelson @ModelSupplies

    • This sounds like a whole new strategy for guest blogging! Thanks for the comment!

  • Persona! Yes! What a great idea Ann! By using persona we could really better understand our audience and provide them the article/information that they really needed.

  • Hi Ann – well written post 🙂 It would be great if personas were built into Google Analytics. It could review a number of elements such as browser, time on site, time to conversion and even referring site for example to put a custom persona on a user. Sounds like a good Google Analytics Data Export API experiment I think 🙂

  • Karin

    What an odd post. I like the idea, but was terribly distracted by how the first half was written by an English-as-a-second-language writer, and the second half was written by Ann herself. The first half had classic usage errors and was stilted. Ann’s half flowed, had personality, and used the English language comfortably.

    Again, the premise is a great idea. All website admins should envision their users as characters and then develop for them; it will make their efforts much more focused and successful. It’s unfortunate that the editing job for the outsourced portion of this article wasn’t done better.

    • LOL, Just to make clear (where I stopped being me and where I became me again), where do you see the distraction?

  • Karin

    Entire first part of the post was written by someone else. Your personally-written content starts with “I personally prefer quizzes because…” If this was all written by you, Ann, then please do yourself a favor and utilize a VA or good editor who will go through your posts to correct spelling, tense, grammar and help you maintain integrity of tone throughout the entire piece. 😉

    • I am sorry but I don’t see any difference as well. I might have let some spelling errors slip (and apologize for that) but I am a human being too.

  • Personally, I didn’t notice the difference in writing styles between the first and second half… maybe you guys are just analyzing it too much?

  • Personas are becoming very effective on Twitter for luxury brands! Read this press release

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  • Hi Ann 🙂
    I liked the concept behind understanding your readers based on their location, but can we also try to estimate the age of our readers to understand the readers a bit more and build a persona based on this factor also?? What do you think ??

    Sunil Jain

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  • rnd technologies

    Nice think.