While it’s important to consistently generate content for your school’s website, it’s critical that the content be valuable to the families you seek to connect with. But how do you know what content your audience wants? This is where you need to have detailed personas to guide you.
Buyer Personas are fictionalized descriptions of the families you want to attract. Most schools will have several personas, but there could be as many as 10 or 15, depending on your target markets.
A good way to create personas is to interview or poll the families of students currently enrolled at your school. Ask them questions that will really help you understand their mindset when they first started looking for schools. Example questions include:
- How old is the child and how old are the parents?
- What are their goals for their child?
- What gets them excited? What keeps them up at night?
Once you have a sufficiently detailed persona, you can use it to generate a wide range of content by answering questions that you know your audience has.
Creating a Basic Persona
Let’s create a simple persona as an example. Susan is in her mid-30s and is a successful executive at a multinational tech company. She is married and has two young children aged 5 and 2. She has accepted a lucrative offer from her company to move to Hanoi and take a senior management role in their office there.
Susan’s own education was from the public school system in the US and she went on to earn a degree at a reputable post-secondary institution. However, she is largely unfamiliar with private schools. While she is excited about the new direction her career is taking, she’s concerned about how the move will affect her children and unsure of how to proceed in selecting a school for them.
A well-crafted persona should be detailed enough to allow us to generate many different ideas for content. Let’s see how well our basic persona does this. Looking at the description, we can see that obvious choices for content include an explanation of the importance of enrolling her children in a private school, what to look for in a school, and perhaps information on how the culture of schools in Hanoi differs from the US public schools Susan is familiar with.
Beyond these obvious first ideas, however, we quickly run out of material to work with. The problem is that while the description of Susan seems sufficiently detailed, it really is not. We need more information about her and her children.
Creating a Better Persona
Now consider the following additional information about Susan and her young family. Although Susan is a busy executive, she has an active social life and is somewhat concerned about what her life will look like in Hanoi outside of work. Susan has never lived outside the United States for any length of time and has never been to Asia, not even for vacation. Susan’s five-year-old, Elli, is bright and inquisitive but has some difficulty sitting still in school. Susan’s two-year-old, Jake, is enrolled in day-care, but does not enjoy it and spends the day largely waiting for Susan to take him home.
Now, What Content Can We Create?
This more detailed persona gives us more information about Susan’s hopes and concerns. These can help us generate additional content ideas. In addition to information about our school, we see that we could provide her with ideas on how to develop her social life in Hanoi.
A video interview with teachers could feature an explanation on how the curriculum is tailored to the needs of each individual student to avoid some of the challenges Elli currently experiences. And although Jake may be too young to be enrolled in your school right now, a blog post explaining how your PreK classes are designed to make uncomfortable students feel at home would certainly help Susan see how your school is a great choice for both her children.
If your personas don’t provide a wealth of content ideas, this may be an indication that you need to develop them further. Even though this takes time and effort, creating these personas will go a long way to helping your school provide content that will make it stand out from the crowd.
For more information on developing personas, download our free template to help you create your own.