by Edwina Dendler, The Traveling German, a guest speaker at TBEX Asia Pacific 2017
Inbound Marketing is a hot trend in the business world right now. The underlying idea of it is that by knowing its customers, and providing them with relevant and interesting content, a business can attract leads (potential new customers) naturally, rather than having to pay for disruptive advertising which can often be ineffective. To create relevant content, Inbound Marketers first define their business’s “buyer persona”, a fictional representation of their company’s ideal customer.
Knowing who we want to speak to is important for us as travel bloggers as well. Do you know who your blog’s ideal reader is? Similar to the buyer persona that companies use, we can create a “reader persona” for our travel blog.
Benefits of defining your blog’s reader persona
A reader persona can help you with determining your blog’s strategy as well as with making decisions in everyday blogging. Some examples:
- Determining your overall content strategy: How does my reader travel? What topics are relevant to this person?
- Deciding what to write about on a daily basis: What part of my FAM trip would my reader be most interested in?
- Knowing where to share your writing: Which social media channels does my reader typically use – before a trip, and during a trip?
- Choosing brands and other strategic partners to work with: Does this brand provide value to my reader? Is my reader likely to use this brand?
Having a buyer persona can help with these kinds of decisions and make you stay true to your blog’s mission (you have a mission, right?).
How to create a reader persona for your travel blog
A reader persona should be a semi-fictional representation of your blog’s ideal reader: the kind of person who would look at your writing and say, “this is just what I was looking for! I want to read more.” If your blog is based on your personal travel experience, then often this is someone with a similar travel style to you. That’s a good starting point.
From there, a good way to create your reader persona is to develop a questionnaire about this person. There are three areas you should focus on:
- Your reader persona’s personality and general life situation
What is your reader’s typical age? Their family situation? Their financial situation? All these are likely to affect how they travel, and what type of content they will be interested in: A quiet, romantic weekend for two, or a busy family hotel where the kids will find friends to play with by the pool?
- Your reader persona’s travel style
How often and how long do they travel? What does their dream vacation look like? How do they decide which hotel to book? Knowing what they’re looking for will help you frame your content the right way and find interesting angles to write about. Here’s an example: if your reader dreams about a safari in Africa, maybe you can write about seeing wildlife in your local area as well?
- Your reader persona’s internet use
When are they online during the day, or during the week? Are they more likely to be on their mobile phone or on a desktop computer? This will help you target your content sharing. If your blog target is a stay at home mom, for example, she is more likely to have time to browse the internet while the kids are in school. If you’re targeting millennial couples in full time jobs, they will probably be browsing the internet on their commute or at lunch time.
Go through the questionnaire yourself and answer what you think would apply to your reader, then talk to actual or potential readers as well. Ask your travel buddies if you can interview them over a coffee, or create a short survey with some key questions for your blog’s subscribers. Combine all answers into one generalised persona, and start coming up with content for your new reader persona!
Want to learn more about reader personas and how to align your blog’s content with that reader? Come to my session at TBEX Asia Pacific 2017: “How to use inbound marketing techniques to grow your blog’s audience”. I’ll be sharing my own reader persona questionnaire and will give tips on coming up with a content strategy based on your reader persona. #TBEXPH – See you there?