- Include a question about reading habits on forms like surveys and lead generation forms.
- Interview your best customers to learn about their reading preferences.
- Make a list of publications you read and assume your buyer personas read similar ones.
- Conduct surveys specifically focused on reading habits.
- Analyze frequently used social media platforms to identify preferred content types.
- Combine multiple methods for a comprehensive understanding.
Uncovering the reading habits and preferences of your target buyer personas is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of digital marketing. With the average attention span getting shorter and shorter, you need to intimately understand how your ideal customers consume content so you can create materials that resonate with them.
This comprehensive guide will equip you with actionable strategies to uncover the reading habits of your buyer personas. You will learn proven techniques leveraging surveys, interviews, social media analytics, and more. By the end, you will have the knowledge to gain invaluable insights into your audience’s content consumption patterns.
Armed with data on reading habits, you can develop content that aligns with your buyer personas’ preferences. This will significantly boost engagement, increase conversion rates, and support your overall digital marketing efforts. The in-depth information in this guide will enable you to get into the minds of your customers and create content they actually want to read.
The methodologies presented are based on best practices employed by leading companies and market research firms. You will get tips for asking the right questions, conducting effective interviews, analyzing social media behavior, and combining different techniques. Follow this guide, and you will gain the customer intelligence needed to stand out from the competition.
How to Uncover Your Buyer Personas’ Reading Habits
To develop an accurate and holistic understanding of your target buyer personas’ reading habits, you need to utilize a strategic combination of data collection methods. Here are the top techniques to uncover this crucial information:
Include a Question on Forms
One straightforward way to learn about your customers’ reading preferences is to simply ask them directly. You can add a question about the types of content or publications they like to read on any forms they complete.
For example, on a lead generation form, survey, or contact request form, include a multiple choice or short answer question like “Which of the following publications do you read regularly?” or “What types of content do you enjoy reading?”.
The key is making the question concise and easy to answer, so you get a high response rate. Keeping it simple and providing answer options increases the likelihood of getting useful data.
This method is ideal because you are getting the information directly from your contacts or leads. As long as you have enough respondents, you can draw reliable conclusions about content preferences.
According to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 77% of B2B marketers use surveys to gain insights into their buyers. So including a reading habits question on forms is clearly an impactful technique.
Interview Your Best Customers
Another excellent way to uncover reading habits is to directly interview some of your best existing customers. This gives you the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation and ask follow-up questions as needed.
Develop a shortlist of 5-10 ideal customers who deeply understand your product or service. These should be people that closely match your target buyer personas.
Then request 30-minute interviews with them, either in person or via video chat. Have a set list of questions prepared to guide the discussion, while also leaving room for open-ended conversation.
Important questions to ask include:
- What publications or websites do you read on a regular basis?
- When researching a new product or service, what online resources do you turn to?
- What social media platforms do you use most frequently?
- What types of content do you find most helpful when learning about a new offering?
- How do you prefer to consume educational or informational content – video, long-form articles, infographics, etc?
Document their responses to analyze later for common themes and publications mentioned. This qualitative data from real customers will provide tremendous insights you can’t get from generalized assumptions.
According to DemandGen, 79% of buyers say relevant content is very influential in their purchasing decisions. Directly learning about their content preferences enables you to improve relevance.
Analyze Publications You Read
While less accurate than asking buyers directly, another method is reflecting on what publications and content you read frequently. List the top 5-10 blogs, magazines, websites, newsletters, etc. that you read on an ongoing basis.
Then, make the assumption that your buyer personas likely consume much of the same content. For B2B companies, this could include industry trade publications, business magazines, and educational blogs. For B2C companies, take note of popular mainstream websites and publications.
When making this list, try to think from the perspective of your ideal customers, not your own personal preferences. While there may be some overlap, you want to identify content you think resonates with your target audience.
The benefit of this approach is it requires no external research. You can quickly generate a reasonable list of publications. Just recognize that it is an assumption rather than hard data. Some of the content may align well with your buyers’ preferences, while other content may not.
According to Statista, 89% of companies create more content aimed at educated buyers than mainstream consumers. So tuning into educational, industry-specific publications is a solid starting point.
Conduct Focused Surveys
One of the best ways to get direct, quantitative data on your customers’ reading habits is through surveys. While you can include a question on a general form, conducting a survey solely focused on content consumption provides even deeper insights.
Develop a short, 5-10 minute survey with the sole purpose of uncovering reading preferences and behaviors. Distribute the survey to your email list, social media followers, website visitors, and existing contacts.
Make sure to provide an incentive, such as a discount code or free tool, to encourage participation. The more responses you get, the more accurate and actionable your findings will be.
Critical questions to include are:
- What types of publications or websites do you read most frequently? Select all that apply.
- What social media platforms do you use on a daily basis? Select your top 3.
- How much time do you spend reading industry news, educational articles, etc. per week?
- When researching a potential purchase, what online resources are most influential?
- What forms of content do you find most helpful when learning about a new product? Rank the following options.
- What topics or categories of content are you most interested in reading?
Once you’ve compiled the data, analyze the results to identify common themes, preferences, and priorities. Compare responses across personas and customer segments as well. These insights can directly inform your content strategy.
According to Content Marketing Institute, 61% of B2B marketers state targeted content created for specific buyer personas is highly effective. Focused surveys enable this level of personalization.
Analyze Social Media Platforms
Examining your target audience’s social media habits provides signals into the types of content they prefer consuming. The platforms they are most active on gives insights into their interests and reading patterns.
Using social media analytics tools, identify which 1-3 platforms your personas use most frequently. For example, perhaps LinkedIn and Twitter for B2B buyers, or Instagram and Facebook for B2C.
Analyze the type of content shared and engaged with on those platforms. For instance, on LinkedIn, your audience may be more likely to interact with long-form thought leadership articles. On Instagram, they may favor short-form videos and visual content.
Also consider how your own company social media performs on each platform. Look at your best-performing content by platform to determine what resonates based on social media behaviors.
According to Sprout Social, 96% of B2B organizations use social media for marketing. Paying attention to platform-specific preferences will improve your effectiveness.
This data enables you to draw conclusions regarding your buyers’ preferred formats, styles, and topics based on social media analytics. You can then create aligned content accordingly.
Combine Multiple Methods for Comprehensive Insights
While each methodology provides valuable insights on its own, combining several techniques is the best approach. Each option has pros and cons, so taking a multi-pronged strategy ensures you develop the most accurate, comprehensive perspective.
Surveys and interviews offer direct insights from customers but require more effort. Examining your own reading habits or social analytics is quicker but more assumptions-based.
Develop an ongoing process for collecting data through a combination of surveys, interviews, social listening, and internal publishing analysis. Continually expand your knowledge of your buyer personas’ reading preferences.
According to Demand Metric, 67% of B2B buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content prior to engaging with a sales rep. So the more you know about their content needs, the better you can nurture them through the sales funnel.
Utilizing a hybrid approach gives you both quantitative and qualitative data as well as outgoing and incoming perspectives. This provides a 360 degree view of your audience’s reading habits and how to align your content accordingly.
Key Takeaways and Conclusion
- Asking questions on forms provides direct data on reading habits from leads and contacts.
- Interviewing existing customers enables in-depth qualitative insights from real buyers.
- Analyzing your own frequently read publications can inform assumptions about your audience’s preferences.
- Conducting specialized reading habit surveys generates comprehensive quantitative data.
- Examining social media behaviors indicates preferences based on platform-specific engagement.
- Combining multiple methods helps develop the most complete perspective on your buyers’ content consumption.
Gaining detailed insights into your target buyer personas’ reading habits and content preferences is a pivotal yet often neglected component of digital marketing. By leveraging the methodologies outlined, you can uncover invaluable data on how your audience consumes information.
These insights empower you to create content perfectly aligned with your customers’ needs and interests. You will be able to capture attention and drive engagement by providing the right content via the right channels. The techniques in this guide will enable you to get into the mindset of who you are trying to reach.
Understanding reading habits and optimizing content to match is a tremendous competitive advantage. Implementing an ongoing, multi-pronged strategy will ensure you stay closely tuned into your audience’s changing preferences. Keep learning, keep perfecting your content, and you will continue winning more loyal customers.