When working on defining your target audience, building a persona can be a great exercise. It’s something I do with some of my writing, where I occasionally write for a specific vision of a person. Having a person in mind when writing content can be a huge benefit, and it can ensure that you’re using the right kind of language (not too technical versus very technical, for example).
When building a persona, it’s helpful to be very specific, but just know that you won’t be precise.
By specific, I mean you should include all of the details you possibly can about this made-up person. Think about their age, gender, family, job, lifestyle, home, community, school system, and more.
By precise, I mean that clearly this isn’t the only person you’re targeting. If you manage to find this precise person, that’s great, but it’s wildly unlikely. Having that specific target to chase is a great thing, just know the reality won’t be as precise.
Here’s a partial persona example from a client we did this for recently.
Homeowner Hannah lives in a three-bedroom home off of Church Street in Marietta, Ga. The home was originally built in 1982 and her family has lived there for five years. They bought the home for $287,000 when they moved in and pay $1,800 per month in mortgage.
Thirty-eight-year-old Hannah works as a teacher at Marietta Middle School and her husband is a medical technician in the WellStar Health System. Between their two jobs, their household income is $110,000. They have two elementary-aged children who attend West Side Elementary School.
Sorting out that detail takes conversions and a good bit of work, but is worth it in the long run. For anything this client produces going forward, they can think about “Homeowner Hannah” and how she might receive that type of message.
To make it even more effective, we spend some time cycling through images on ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com to find one that we feel looks like our persona. It’s a fake photo for a fake lifestyle, but the target is a fantastic way to aim our marketing.
You should make your persona as specific as possible, but still be very happy when less precise real customers actually show up.