How to Create Great Customer Personas in the Context of Your Newspaper (Including a Free Template!)

Elena Abundancia · 12 Jan 2017

Picture this - you’ve written a fantastic article and you’ve even been successful in publishing it, but your audience is nowhere near as excited about your work as you imagined it’d be. Shame, isn’t it?

The secret to an exciting and consequently successful article in an online publication (such as a digital newspaper) is giving your readers exactly they are looking for, and the best thing that you, the editor or journalist, can do to find out the secret ingredient is get involved as closely and directly as possible with the audience you are trying to engage. All articles have the potential to be successful, but only if they are directed at the right audience; and if you want to know where this audience is and how to reach it, then the tool you’re looking for is the customer persona.

If you’ve read this far into the article, it must be because you are intently curious to learn more about all of this. Quite basically, what personas do is define, draw up, and visualise a profile for your readers - only once you start to think of your reader as a single, individual person can you really start producing engaging content.

The key to all of this is knowing how to ask and answer the right questions, ones which will lead you to determine where and on what to focus your time, so that you may then attract the most valuable audience to your business.

Let’s move on to actually learning how to build up your customer persona, and what should happen when you know exactly the kind of audience you are talking to.

What a Customer Persona Is, and Why You Should Use This Technique In Your Research

A customer persona ”… is a composite sketch of a segment of your target market designed to help brands align with these specific buyers’ needs and priorities to build engagement that results in a profitable relationship,” says Ardath Albee.

Completing a customer persona should be the first step in your inbound marketing strategy - everything else will depend on how effective your persona is, hence why it is so important. The customer persona (and his/her details and description) will show you how to draw in your target users using great content, as opposed to other, ancient marketing methods and techniques.

The customer persona template is a live document that first requires a quality identification process, by means of which it would be expected to obtain the most exact and relevant persona. The best way to obtain a quality result is by researching and interviewing all the people involved in the customer experience journey, allowing and encouraging them to talk about themselves in the first person. Only by getting to know our clients and the workings of their daily lives will we manage to obtain the clearest idea of what they actually need from us.

This Hubspot post demonstrates how this would work; and right here in our article, we are putting up for grabs this tailor-made customer persona template for a newspaper, for free.

This document is intended to help you understand and attract the most valuable of your readers, simply by giving them exactly what they want. You will reach your segment goal by creating the content they require and using the most effective campaigns. The template will even help you figure out the style and tone readers like the most, based on their interests.

This information and other data derived from your analysis should be made accessible to all the people in your team - the consequent goals and targets of the company should be common to all of its contributors. This is how you and all of your coworkers will know exactly what should make your target audience happy to be reading and experiencing your content.

How To Complete Your Customer Persona Template

Filling out our detailed buyer persona template is really easy - simply follow along the different questions that gradually increase in difficulty. The more difficult, the more important they are for you. The various key questions will help you figure out who your persona is - each step of the way will take us deeper into the persona’s way of life. This infographic from the Buyer Persona Institute could also land you with some valuable advice.

The first thing you’ll need to find out is how many customer personas you should build, i.e. how many are required to cover all the potential readers of your publication. Your content will depend on various factors, including: whether the audience prefers to read online or in print; age; cultural interests; etc. By first defining your customer segment, you will be able to set the number of customer personas that are relevant to you, and start building their profiles.

Stage one is finding out basic, personal demographic information, such as name, age, gender, level of education, job, and salary. Hobbies are also a great point of departure.

Next up are the goals and challenges the persona has. This type of information will reveal more specific data about the personality and needs of the customer, in both the near and far future.

Now describe the values that the reader thinks are important to have, and what he/she is afraid of. For example, if your ideal consumer is afraid of spiders and you choose to write an article about how arachnids can be great pets, it is quite likely that this encounter will not end so well.

Ask your customer persona to describe one typical day in his/her life, providing you with more knowledge of his/her feelings and needs. In your template, write down the real, exact quotes - this will help you figure out how the persona thinks and what he/she cares about.

Ask about shopping preference - this will contribute greatly to the bigger picture that is the consumer journey. Check what your customers use to search for information, and what kind of information they typically search for. This is one of those questions that will clearly reveal the type of article the audience is looking for.

Finally, we recommend you write an elevator pitch - a short piece of around 60 seconds in length - that summarises and puts to use all the information you’ve accumulated. Try this - speak as if you’re attempting to convince your audience to buy your newspaper.

Although the persona will never describe his/her exact feelings, you still have the opportunity of gathering a lot of quality data. For example, if the persona describes his/herself as being very stressed and a fan of swimming at the municipal pool, you will already have found out that he/she is an active person who tends to work a lot and might need a break - so how about an awesome article about swimmers to read around lunch?

Every piece of information you place in this free template will help you understand the personality of your customer. Of course, don’t forget to always maintain your objectivity, and filter the good, relevant data from the bad.

One last thing - if you’re still starting out and you do not yet have customers you can interview, don’t fret. You can still carry out your research online! Ask around and think of who your potential reader might be. Your customer persona may not be a real person, but it should definitely feel like it is one - that includes a real name, job, wants and needs that you will create specifically for him/her. Experience will help you tweak your personas and segment them further.

To Wrap Up

Have you got a great customer persona to share? You can even share your own experience of creating personas and implementing them to grow your publication - we love nothing more than hearing wonderful success stories from our loyal readers.

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