Buyer personas vs Reader Personas: what's the difference?

The theory of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ states that everyone in the world is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. With Media Convergence, promoting your content on social media channels is the first step in closing the gap between you and your buyer personas. And yet, there’s an exponential difference between the exposure you get for content promoted exclusively through your own social networks and those campaigns where you’ve gone beyond your comfort zone to reach out to influential networks.  

Brace yourselves, content marketers, for the often-neglected topic of Reader Profiles! 

Content Promotion: Reader Personas vs. Buyer Personas 

While the ultimate goal of content marketing is to reach customers who will read your content and will want to make a purchase, a content promotion strategy that targets Reader Persona, or Reader Profiles, aims at reaching out to users who will see your content and want to share it. 

Reader Personas are valuable allies to your content promotion as they are the 5 to 10 per cent of social media users who are responsible for 60 to 80 per cent of all online influence. Whether your website is new and unknown or mature and driving large numbers of traffic, content marketing is all about sharing, and this is why we need readers who aren’t just consumers but are also brand activists.  

Considerations in Selecting Your Reader Personas 

There are two major considerations to take into account when selecting Reader Personas to approach in your Content Marketing campaigns; range of social reach and relevance of reach. 

Range of Social Reach 

While the range of an individual’s reach on Social Media is often judged primarily by the number of followers and friends across platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, establishing the quality of these connections must not be neglected.  

Interaction is a key factor to look for in discerning if followers are even ‘real’ and whether they are engaged. In principle, LinkedIn is a more selective network, which means that the number of connections is less important than the authority that the member enjoys in their network. 

Relevance of Audience 

Keeping in mind the ultimate goal of content promotion, which is to reach your ideal buyers, Reader Personas should bring you one step closer to your Buyer Personas. Established Thought Leaders in your industry are a sure bet but don’t forget to consider those industry leaders who have recently made it into the limelight.  

Reaching Out To Reader Personas  

As Inbound Marketers, we understand that we need to earn the attention of our buyer personas and the right to keep promoting our brand to them, and the high-quality content we create is the currency with which we negotiate. The same counts for Reader Personas, where ‘give to get’ is the rule. 

When considering your list of Reader Personas, look out for opportunities to return the favour. Here are some examples of win-win situations that gets your content promoted and your influencers, rewarded: 

  • A Thought Leader, who is willing to be interviewed for your blog results in mutual exposure and authority by association. 
  • The industry blogger, who is keen to exchange guest blogging opportunities results in diversity of content and mutual promotion of content. 
  • VIPs who are open to writing a product review in return for a free trial or product pack, and get an exclusive freebie for themselves while giving your brand a review by the Who’s Who in your industry.  

In their guide to content optimisation, HubSpot shares the following example of how they created a win-win situation for their Reader Personas: 

‘…we created an offer with eight budget templates. To increase engagement and participation, we tried emailing a small list of people we considered “influencers” in our database and also shared the inside scoop with the private Inbound Marketers group that we run on LinkedIn. We asked these influencers to share with us how they’d use budget templates in their jobs, and we would feature their tips on the eBook, and in the blog post following the offer. In return, we asked that they share the templates with their audiences once the offer launched, thus generating more downloads!’ 

More Tips For Upping Your Content Marketing Game 

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