The ten-minute audience-persona creator

Creating audience/reader personas can take months, but this tool (from our content marketing courses) will help you make them in minutes.

Targeting your audience based on demographic information makes marketing much easier, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you understand them any better.

Statistics like age, sex and location don’t help you generate marketing content that builds rapport, trust and love for a brand.

While it’s lovely to know hypothetical customer *Jane*, a single 20-something  from Wiltshire, you’ll have to work hard to keep generating content that matches those facts.

You can create valuable audience personas by expanding on demographics to build characters you can imagine talking to. When you know Jane wants to travel the world, that she hates tourist-traps and worries she might get in trouble when travelling alone, you have a useable persona.

An audience persona is a representation of a group of people, rather than a single person. You’re creating a stereotype based on characteristics various members of your target audience share.

Coming up with audience profiles can be a laborious and long-winded process, often resulting in a bunch of documents consigned to the nice-ideas-nobody-was-ever-going-to-use drive. But they’re invaluable tools for anybody writing with the goal of persuading their reader to do something.

Three simple questions

The quickest way to make a decent audience persona is to ask three questions – what are her goals? What does she need to achieve these? What’s stopping her from meeting those needs?

1. What are Jane’s goals?

These have to be relevant to what you can offer. Jane may want to become an engineer, but if you can’t help her do this, think of something more relevant. What drives her? What ill make her happy? What makes her feel good about herself?

2. What does Jane need to get there?

Businesses exist to meet needs and solve problems, but marketers often prioritise their solutions over the audience’s needs. What does Jane need to achieve her goals? What could make her get there faster? How can she improve/plan to accomplish these aims?

3. Which obstacles are stopping her?

What’s stopping Jane from meeting the needs that will get her where she wants to go? Don’t stop at obvious things like time and money. You need to get into the psychological and physical factors that need moving.


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Goal Need Obstacle
Travel the world. Experiences beyond standard tourist sites. Travelling alone can be dangerous.

Now that you’ve got a character’s goals, needs and obstacles laid out, you can plan your content around them. Discovering and documenting the needs and obstacles is like planting a content-allotment. Every time you need to write or create something, you can pick one and build an idea around it.

Have a go

Pick an obstacle, give your reader advice on how to overcome it.
Pick a need, help a reader understand their options better.
Pick a goal, inspire them through stories of people who have achieved it.

You can now segment your audience by goals instead of demographics. Now, Jane is in the same group as retired 70-year-old Tom because they both have the same needs when it comes to holidays.

Remember, each persona represents a set of individuals, so write as if you’re addressing a small group. If you link these personas to your editorial planner, it’s easy to keep a running conversation and build relationships with your audience.

The most important rule

It’s straightforward – as long as you understand your customer. If you weren’t able to answer the questions; speak to some of these real people. If you could fill all the boxes without a second thought – talk to your audience! You’re probably making too many assumptions, which could render your persona useless.


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