This piece originally went out to our subscribers as part of our weekly newsletter. To get features like this sent to you every Friday lunchtime, sign up here.

Producing content week in, week out is tough. But the challenge isn’t in finding the time to write –  in many ways that’s the easy part – it’s the idea generation that really takes the time.

Part of my role as Head of Content is to come up with six to seven articles a month to pitch to clients in a monthly editorial, and it was in one of these research/planning sessions that I realised I simply didn’t have enough detail about their customers to cut to the heart of their offering. They had some persona research available – general demographic information – but it was so light as to be almost irrelevant.

Lack of detailed personas makes producing quality content really bloody difficult. Sure, you can make certain assumptions about your clients based on conversations, but without speaking to them and getting under their skin, you can’t be sure your content matters to them. Luckily, you have a great resource to tap into – existing clients. By understanding who your best clients are and what your product/service does for them, you can target similar looking businesses.

Here are a few things to find out:

Their day – What time do they get up? How do they get to work? What’s the first thing they do when they get in the office? What do lunch breaks look like? Is their day full of meetings? This minutiae tells you a lot about the best times to post and how to distribute your content.

Their emotional triggers – What are the biggest challenges they face on a daily basis? By understanding the pressures your clients are under, you can write content with empathy. Align your knowledge with their needs and your content will connect.

Their decision-making processes – When your client said yes to your product or service, who was involved in that decision? And what did that process look like internally? Who did the original research and how was that information disseminated? What information mattered to each person in the process? Understanding this will help you target relevant content to the right people at the right time.

What they think you do – This might sound strange, but having your customers describe your service in their words is truly enlightening. Dong so will influence not just content ideas but also your tone of voice and positioning, too.

Your value – What is it you do that is of value to your client/customer? If you know the solution you provide in their words, your content can tap into that sweet spot.

These are a few details to get your started, but in truth, persona research should be as detailed as possible and come directly from your customers’ mouths. Organise interviews, talk to them and find out what they want. Only then can you produce the most valuable content possible.