Reader Persona. All you need to know in one place

Here’s the catch, in trying to please everyone you end up pleasing no one. There isn’t a blog which would suit each one of us.

Here’s the catch, in trying to please everyone you end up pleasing no one. There isn’t a product, service, or blog which would suit each one of us. I’ve already written about buyer persona, so today just a few words about reader persona. About an imaginary character, a made up man, a person, who reads what you write about on your blog.

My reader persona

Meet Peter. Peter is a man of action. He works at a high position in a nice internet company. He feels rather, that he has to change something. Make it on his own, be self-employed. He’s actually developing his own startup. He’s looking for inspiration, interesting cases, tips, solutions, which will allow him to reach his goals, which he himself set up. Peter is a reader persona of this blog. Read more about him here.

Now let’s meet Chris. Chris feels that there’s something missing in his life.

He’s got lost, something has cut off his wings. He wants to have joy in life once again, he wants to get up in the morning with a smile on his face. He’s seeking motivation. He’s seeking inspiration. He wants to be happy with what he’s got, what he’s achieved. And at the same time, he wants to reach out for more. Christopher is a reader persona of my Polish blog Nodalej.pl.

Why do I need reader persona?

Reader persona is equivalent to buyer persona in content marketing. Reader persona is your ideal reader. A person, who you want to target with your content, your blog, presentations, films, photos, tweets etc. With that in mind, you should think of more topics for the blog. With that in mind, you should think about the form of your content. Depending on who he will be – such language, such a form of communication, such words, or such phrases you shall use. It is he who you’ll want to target. It is he who you will sought to get. In the end it’s him who has to find you on the web, he is to read you. Reader persona is your reader. Dream, ideal reader.

Reader persona – example

Let’s say, that you run a blog for an online shop. You sell sport equipment, for water sports. Let’s say, that it is equipment for sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, wakeboarding. And you want to gain customers to the shop using content marketing. Writing as much as possible. Hoping for a reasonable conversion from the blog.

Who could your reader persona be? Similar to the example of buyer persona – a guy, aged about 25. Just graduated from university, he wants to make the most of his final holiday moments – before going to real, full-time work. He doesn’t exactly have too much money, well, since he’s just left school.

He’s looking for something exciting. Equipment which will provide him with such an impression. Cool events.

Rather casual, holiday dressed. A loose t-shirt, hoodie, shorts, trainers. He’s athletic and likes sport. He likes to be around people, who show interest in various physical activities, especially water sports.

A couple of things which result from this description:

  • It’s a man – you are writing to men; about what men are interested in; pictures put up are aimed at men
  • A young person, 25 years old – calm, without awkwardness you can use the form ‘you’ in the communication
  • He probably likes visual content, he reads less often – there has to be many pictures published on the blog, and if you want to be present in socials, you have to focus above all on Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo; and also Facebook, possibly Pinterest
  • etc…

How precisely should you describe your reader persona?

As precisely as possible. The better you know your readers, the more things you know about them – the better you will be able to adjust to their needs, the more willingly your blog will be read, the more willingly readers will subscribe, and the more willingly they will go to your online shop.

Do you need to inform the user of your ideal reader? Does your reader have to know who your reader persona is?

Of course not. That’s for you. That’s supposed to help you in building content strategy, creating particular content etc. It’s definitely worth to inform all of your colleagues about the reader persona (so everyone knows exactly what content they are supposed to create). And the readers? You can inform them of it, but you don’t have to. Your choice.

And what if the customer is not in my reader persona characteristics?

As long as your content engages him – nothing. Nothing bothers your blog which is aimed at 25-year-olds also getting to people over 50, with physical activity having nothing to do with it.

It’s important not to focus on them. Don’t change your content strategy under their dictates. Don’t adjust the content for people who is not and will not be, your target, ideal reader.

Might the reader persona change over time?

Of course! You have a small chance to hit the target the very first day. You have a small chance to find the perfect customer/reader at the beginning of your journey. Often you need to change initial plans, adjust to the market realities. It may turn out that in your shop there will be other buyers than you initially expected. Then there is no point creating a blog for someone who isn’t your customer (you will need to adjust reader persona of your blog to the new realities).

It may also turn out that your private blog will attract people, who initially weren’t targeted in your content.

Of course, it’s important here not to do anything by force. Don’t you feel good writing for managers of large corporations, with an average age of 50+? Nothing by force. If you’ll create content under their demands – sooner or later you’ll burn out. It’s your blog. Writing and publishing must give you pleasure.

Is it worth visualizing your reader persona?

It’s not necessary, but I highly recommend it. It’s always easier to talk to someone (or even write for someone), who we see or at least with someone who we know what they look like. Photos also tell a lot about a person. It’ll be easier for us to adjust to his needs, knowing what he looks like.

Does there have to be only one reader persona on my blog?

No, there can be more. But not too many, since it blurs our picture of the target group of readers.

We can have various products in our offer, bought willingly by various people. In one shop we can even sell men’s and women’s clothing. One buyer persona will be, in the case of men’s clothing, another will be in the case of women’s clothing. While another buyer persona also means another reader persona on the blog.

How to create the ideal reader persona for my blog?

If it’s a company blog – reader persona should be identical to our buyer persona.

If we are talking about a private blog – similar to the case of buyer persona, through research. It’s not worth focusing solely on your own intuition, or your own preferences. It’s rare when we create a blog for ourselves. We rather do it for our readers. Reader persona doesn’t necessarily have to look like how we originally thought. Before determining who might be our dream reader, I recommend proceeding according to the following plan:

  • Set yourself a certain general framework, e.g. we want to get to those people who intend to create their own startup, yet still don’t have their own company
  • Do market research, e.g. check how certain people suit to those designated by our framework, what they currently do, in what industries they work in, in what companies, on what positions
  • Make sure if there are enough of these people, so that focusing on them has any sense; if not – we go back to the first point and change the general framework; if so – let’s continue
  • Selecting one of these people as a model example of the dream reader
  • Check that person (look them up on Google, check various social media websites, find out how they look, what they do, what they write about, their age, their interests, who they hang out with)
  • Check in similar ways other people from our scope of interest
  • And another one
  • Compare all examined people, make sure if the first examined person is similar to the rest; if these people are in some way similar to each other, look for a common denominator
  • Based on these common features – build a picture of our dream reader; our reader persona is exactly that, what is in front of us.
  • Karol: Have your written a post on the listener persona? I have been blogging since 2002, so your post on the reader person is great reading material. I started with podcasting in 2006 and I will spend plenty of energy and time on my show in the years to come.

    • Thank you Martin. No, I did not write any article on this subject. However in next couple of days I will publish a blog post about podcasts and podcasting. Hope you’ll like it :)

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