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Up Close & Personal Link Building Series: Preparing for Personas

Effective personas aren’t random. Find out how to do your homework for persona link building success!

“Personas” doesn’t have to be a bad word.

In fact, the question of authenticity is centuries old. Charles Dickens used the pen name “Boz” for journalism he didn’t want published under his own name.

But here’s the thing about the age of digital media: if you lie, you’re eventually going to get busted.

And you can’t just take your name tag off when words come back to bite you. The internet — like children and elephants — never forgets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6ZVpOvRfIs

This three-part Up Close & Personal Link Building series going to tell you how to prepare for using personas for social outreach, step by step how to create a persona for social outreach and examples of effective outreach that use personas.

However, it is important to keep in mind that although the word “persona” is thrown around, whatever you create is reflecting YOU, regardless of which part of you it reflects, and it also represents your SEO agency as well as any clients you may be conducting outreach for.

Using personas for good

Before we begin: You have a responsibility to yourself, your agency, your clients and your industry to enforce standards and avoid any kind of deception at all costs.

Personas aren’t for protecting you from the danger of shady business, they’re for helping you build a higher number of mutually beneficial relationships. It’s for doing more good business.

Just remember that when you write or communicate under the guise of a persona, you’re not representing nothing. In fact, you’re representing something larger than yourself: your business. And when you’re representing your business, it’s best behavior or else.

Now, let’s get started on learning how to prepare to build personas for social outreach for link building.

Why Use Social Media for Personas?

Social outreach for link building – and relationship creation in general – is more effective than e-mail outreach because social attaches a face and a personality.

The connection feels more personal, provides publishers with a list of social endorsement connections, and has positive SEO benefits when content is shared.

The key is to create personas that are both relevant to the client or vertical but also authentic to your or your team.

Wednesday’s persona post already covered what a persona for social outreach actually is – an additional (or first, if they don’t have a personal profile) an outreach team member creates that focuses on what they can relate to that is relevant to the target audience/group of publishers they’d like to interact with.

What it is/does:

  • An authentic representation of the team member
  • Focused on a certain audience in an organic way that does not.
  • Owned by the SEO agency or client (up to you), not the team member
  • Entertaining and interesting
  • Serves as a place to focus on common ground to create stronger relationships with influencers and audiences

What it is/does NOT:

  • Fraudulent, make-believe, deceptive
  • A copy of the team member’s or someone else’s profile
  • Containing words/phrases/photos that are not legally property of the client, SEO agency or team member personally
  • A soapbox for a team member promote personal causes or interests
  • A duplicate any of the content in any other personal or persona profiles that the team member may manage

I really can’t stress this enough: DON’T STEAL THINGS, AND DON’T MAKE UP FAKE PEOPLE.

If you do: either the internet police will get you or karma will wreak havoc upon your internet service to the point where you have to go back to a dialup connection (oh the horror!).

So, now that you’re aware of the do’s, don’ts and consequences… who’s ready to create a persona for linkbuilding?

Persona Fundamentals

Corso knows that no team heads onto the field without preparation. Just like a football field, the internet is a place for you and your team to become a champions - if you’ve first mastered the fundamentals.

Yes, in this series you will learn, step by step, how to create a person for outreach and how to use that persona for effective relationship creation, but there are a few things that must come first.

Know the rules of the game. Facebook has hard and fast rules about an individual owning more than one profile (although there are ways to use Facebook pages for outreach, but that’s a whole other blog post).

Twitter does not have these same restrictions – making Twitter the best network with the largest diverse audience to use for social outreach with a persona.

HOWEVER - always research first. If most of your target audience is on Pinterest, then use that. If they’re on LinkedIn, there’s a way to use that for outreach as well (but most likely not with a persona).

Which is a great segue to the next step in creating a persona for social outreach…

Do Your Homework

Creating a persona definitely can be fun, but it is also serious work.

Before you even create a Twitter handle for your persona, you need to complete your research on both the client and vertical, so that you will be able to both find influencers before you even get started creating an account as well as know how to communicate with them.

For the sake of this series, let’s have a consistent example.

I’m going to choose a broad topic (that’s also close to my heart): sports. Examples of the types of brands in a sports vertical can vary from extreme sports brands, like Burton to broad multi-sport appeal like EvoShield to niche brands like Louisville Slugger.

In order to narrow it down a little bit further to better illustrate your actual process, let’s say our clients are multi-sport retailers or other brands relevant to the sports industry.

It’s best to be a bit broad so that you can use the same persona for more than one client, but also make sure that the audiences are similar enough that it makes sense.

When you do your research, you need to find:

  • Typical audience of client(s)
  • A list of influencers (you’ll create this)
  • The type of content that this audience publishes and likes to read and share
  • How to speak the “language” (rom reading box scores to “That definitely belongs in SC Top 10!” to whether or not your messaging should be long or short to how to display to publishers you know your stuff)
  • What kind of content publishers are looking for
  • What kind of link building you can do (brand fans, guest posting, creative content, run contests, etc)
  • Where to find influencers on Twitter itself (things like Twitter chats they participate in, common hashtags, trends, who they follow)

Knowledge is power. It keeps you from making mistakes that can ruin potential publisher relationships as well as saves you time.

Creating a solid persona for social outreach is never a result of flat-out trial and error. 

Although you will be learning along the way as a result of being immersed in the right conversations (which is partly the point of personas), doing your homework helps you get to these conversations and action-driving influencers much faster.

Subscribe to the iAcquire blog so you won’t miss the next parts of the series: a step-by-step guide to Twitter persona creation and tips for persona content and examples of effective outreach!