Buyer Journeys vs. Buyer Personas: What Are They (and Why Do I Need Them While Blogging)?

A quote from Peter F. Drucker | a featured image from the article "Buyer Journeys vs. Buyer Personas: What Are They (and Why Do I Need Them While Blogging)?"Buyer Journeys vs. Buyer Personas: these are two important concepts you need to understand as you create content for your blog.

Buyer personas are a semi-fictional depiction of your target reader (or readers) while the buyer’s journey is an active research process your reader takes through your blog which eventually leads to making a purchase.

Having a set of buyer personas allow you to better tailor-fit your blog content as a means to be more relevant and helpful to your target readers. Meanwhile, familiarizing yourself with your reader’s buyer’s journey allows you to further customize your content according to intent.

A better understanding of these two concepts should allow you to create even more valuable blog content– articles and resources that are comprehensive, market-relevant, and ultimately helpful to your target readers.

What Are Buyer Personas?

The concept of buyer personas was made popular by HubSpot around 2015 or so, as one of the more foundational elements of the Inbound way of Marketing.

As mentioned, buyer personas are semi-fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Or, in the case of your blog, your ideal readers.

Having a buyer persona (or a set of personas) will allow you to better internalize this ideal reader of yours, as you can understand their motivations, their pain points, their preferences, their media habits, and so on.

Some other considerations for further fleshing out your buyer personas:

  • Who they are – i.e. their age, location, profession, niche
  • How they behave – i.e. their general disposition, their aspirations, everyday concerns, and wishes
  • Their media habits – how they engage with or consume the blog content and what makes them come to this blog (and hopefully keep coming back)?

By creating a well-crafted buyer persona, you, as a blogger can now more easily identify and engage the right audience segment and be able to create more tailored and successful content for this particular group of readers.

You can get a copy of a set of worksheets from HubSpot to help you figure out your blog’s own buyer personas.

What Are Buyer Journeys?

When readers visit your blog, it’s likely that they have arrived via search, social, or some means of direct referral.

In any case, what’s important to understand here is intent. Or more specifically, search intent. In other words, what is it exactly that your visitors typed into the search bar that made them end up in your site.

A buyer’s journey is that path to conversion your reader takes from the start (being aware of a need, a problem, or a question) to finish (which ends up in a sale or some other desired course of action).

The buyer’s journey has three distinct stages: The awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision stage.

A graphic depicting the three stages of the buyer's journey | a featured image from the article "Buyer Journeys vs. Buyer Personas: What Are They (and Why Do I Need Them While Blogging)?"

The Awareness Stage

The reader is aware of a problem, a pain point, or an opportunity and does research online to better understand or frame the issue.

The Consideration Stage

Committed to further research, the reader now knows what he’s dealing with, and is looking into different options on how to best address this problem, pain point or opportunity.

The Decision Stage

The reader has now decided on his solution, method, or approach, and is now looking into engaging with a vendor or supplier. Researching further to narrow the list down until finally making a purchase decision.

When coming up with a content strategy for your blog, you now create content not just specific to your target reader, but also where your target reader is in the buyer journey.

Are they trying to figure out their problems right now? Do they know what they’re going through and are looking for solutions via your blog? Or maybe they’re just about ready to buy something and they’re just waiting for a recommendation or endorsement to finally nudge them all the way through?

Using Buyer’s Personas and Buyer’s Journey To Make Even More Awesome Content

While you may struggle at times to create content that better resonates with your audience, a better understanding of buyer’s journeys and buyer’s personas can help you come up with content that’s more in sync with your readers’ wants and needs.

A few extra tips when it comes to buyer’s personas and buyer’s journeys and your blog content:

  • You might have more than one persona in mind for your blog, but you’re better off sticking to just one persona at a time. This allows you to focus your efforts better on a specific target market.
  • After you’ve gained significant traction or somehow amassed enough content, you can then move on to another market segment (i.e. another persona). Create campaigns as you see fit, so you can group together similar content marketing efforts for a particular target market segment.
  • Map the right kind of content according to the stage of your reader’s buyer journey.
  • Remember: blog posts are just one form of content you can use. Don’t forget to utilize video, podcasts, infographics, ebooks, checklists, and other useful pieces. In fact, you can check out our blog post on video content that you can use to level up your content marketing efforts.

A Final Word

Now that you get the difference between buyer journeys vs. buyer personas, you also know that’s it’s not quite an either-or scenario, but rather a case where you need to utilize both, at least as far as your blog’s content marketing efforts are concerned.

For next steps, start mapping out your content marketing strategy: figure out who exactly it is you’re writing for, just down your ideas for future blog posts (or even video content and other media), and then attach each of these to one of the three stages of the buyer’s journey.