If you have an IT problem the advice is simple: turn your device off and turn it back on again.

If you are on an air plane that’s not working? Well, do the same.

Sorry, could you repeat that?

So, the pilot did. There was a technical fault in the navigation computers. The engineers were on board to fix it and the solution was to turn the computers off and then on again.

Good communication with the customer? Well, certainly frequent over the two hour-period we sat on the tarmac of Edinburgh Airport, as successive attempts to fix the problem failed.

What the Captain didn’t address was the concerns of the people on board. How would this simple fix work if the faulty navigation computers conked out again at 30,000 feet? Why did all the systems have to be turned off if the fault was isolated in one system? Would the off-airport car park be open at 3 a.m.?

It’s not all about you…

What changed everything was the steward. Although every passenger faced the same challenge – the plane was grounded – it raised different issues for each person. So, the steward went down the plane answering any and every question as best he could.

What was important was that he wasn’t selling the company – ‘our engineers are the greatest and will have us going soon’ – but simply sharing his personal knowledge and experience of what could be done.

It’s the same for your customers. They face similar challenges, such as how do I make my company more agile or secure my data to comply with regulations like GDPR? But they are all affected in different ways.

You could take a sales-centric approach – ‘We’re great, buy our solution’ – or you could share what you know will address their individual challenges and help them succeed.

Building your audience personas

That’s the philosophy behind content marketing, creating and publishing valuable and relevant content that resonates with your audience.

By talking in the right way, across all the channels and platforms your audience uses, you can use your content to connect with the right people.

To do so, it’s helpful to construct personas of your audience and map out your content that’s most relevant to them.

Finding your voice

But that’s only half the story. You know what you’re going to say and to whom. But who is saying it and how? Just as there is an audience persona you need to build the persona behind your content. What is the personal knowledge and experience, like that of the steward, that shines through your content and will build the right relationship with your audience?

In any content asset this is your voice. There are voices each audience persona will listen to with more interest and belief, which may be different for each audience persona and format.

So, in mapping your content to audience personas you also have to determine which persona is delivering the message. Is your content persona more Adele or Beyoncé, Seth Godin or Simon Sinek, plain-talking Jed in storage or Susie the cloud visionary? Want to talk about it? We’d love to chat. Get in touch.

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