In our last few posts we’ve discussed the importance of PR as part of an integrating marketing strategy, and how you can best work with key industry publications to maximise the impact and visibility of your content marketing. However, knowing which industry titles to work with will involve carrying out a thorough review of your target personas – after all, how do you know where to publish work if you aren’t sure on who it is you’re actually targeting?
So what exactly is a persona?
A construction marketing persona should represent the type of person you want to approach your business and become a qualified lead; they should have a specific interest in your organisation or product, with the intention of searching for an answer to a problem that you can solve. Whether these are architects, roofing contractors, house builders or homeowners, creating them from the offset is the
single most important thing that you will do in creating your PR plan. With your ideal persona in mind, crafting the right content will ensure your entire strategy is streamlined and results-oriented.
You’ll need to identify the following factors when targeting those who specifically work within the construction industry:
1. Background and skills required
As well as age, location and gender, think about what characteristics and experience someone may have who has entered this particular role…
– Would they need to have existing knowledge of the industry and to what level?
– Will they be strategically minded, creative, analytical?
– Will they typically work long hours?
– Would they need good organisational skills?
– What about strong leadership or writing skills?
2. Working life
You can then start to narrow it down to their everyday working life in the office or on the road; on a regular basis, think of all the key areas they’d typically be working on.
– What type of work would pile up on their desk in need of completion?
– Where would they search to solve questions relating to their projects?
– How many assignments or projects will they be given?
– What type of projects would these be?
– Would they be based on-site?
All of the above will help to build a more focused picture of the skills they already have, as well as the skills they’ll need to strengthen for career progression. As a result, you’ll understand how to support them through a range of guided content.
When targeting homeowners, your questions may be more tailored towards their personal day-to-day life….
– Are men or women more influenced by your product or service?
– What age group best represents your target homeowner and what is their day-to-day role?
– Where do they mostly search for answers relating to the home, via online forums, print magazines?
As well as age, location and gender, you’ll also want to know for all target groups how your product or service helps them with their day-today life, which leads nicely onto the next point…
Targeting pain points for your persona types
Out of the entire persona process, this is probably one of the most critical aspects. Without knowing their pain points, what are we here for, and how are we meant to help?
This is where you need to act as a problem solver by grilling down into the hardest areas of their job role.
– What resources may they be lacking?
– Are they struggling with budget restraints?
– What daily obstacles stand in the way of them finding the right products?
– What are their boundaries or limits of authority?
– What frustrations are they regularly experiencing?
Take advantage of your greatest resource
Now we aren’t expecting you to know all of these answers straight away. So in order to create a more detailed picture, why not use your current customers and ask them questions regarding their challenges and opportunities? Asking them directly could unearth new insights, which should not only help you build more effective buyer personas, but could reveal new ways to re-engage with existing contacts. This process could be carried out in the form of online questionnaires, telephone interviews or face-to-face research groups with volunteers from each persona – give them an incentive to participate and you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.
Research behaviours and conversations online
Looking for conversations online, through LinkedIn forums and Twitter or Facebook conversations, will allow you to understand where your construction audiences interact and the type of conversations they’re having. Is there something you’ve missed in your persona profile that could form an essential piece of your PR strategy?
Applying persona research to your PR strategy
At this stage you should have gained a thorough understanding of how you can help target prospects and what content is required to directly eliminate or reduce their pain points. This may involve writing detailed guides, short FAQ-style blog posts, case studies or even templates for them to download that can be implemented into your content plan, and aligned with your PR strategy.
However as well as being informative thought-leaders within the industry, you’ll also want your target audiences to take a direct action from reading your content, which should be aligned with your overall business objectives. How will your PR strategy help to generate prospects into leads? You need to set clearly defined, measurable goals based around an action you want them to complete when visiting your website or contacting you directly.
Once you’ve developed your persona profiles, you can then build your communications plan with purpose and direction, knowing who your target audiences are and how to reach them. The whole process will mean that content becomes more purposeful and helpful, providing that all-important ‘added value’ for your prospects and clients. Ultimately, the more you help to target those key pain points, the more likely that prospects will return again and again for advice, becoming not just leads but trusted advocates for your business.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how PR can be used as part of a larger, integrated construction marketing strategy, our new guide details exactly how to choose the right publication houses to work with and ways to successfully manage the process going forward.