Cultivating relationships with your readers is a wonderful way to extend your reach and gain new followers. Have you ever considered, though, who those readers are?
Creating personas is a technique used in web design and user experience to represent user groups, reminding the owner of the purpose of the site and what reasons people might have for being there. Each persona stands in for a particular user group. A persona is simply a description of a fictional person—a character—who belongs to that user group.
Typically a persona includes a name, a photo, demographic information such as age, level of education, ethnicity and family status, what matters most to them related to your site, and any other useful details. The result is similar to what a fiction writer might create to help visualize a character.
“I’m a Writer, Not a Web Designer!”
So why would you create a persona for your website? The process can be highly instructive to you about whom your potential readers are, thus helping you hone your marketing efforts. No one has time to market to the world, so it’s important you focus on those reader groups who will be helped by your message. Let’s see how to adapt this process to your author blog.
Steps to Developing an Author Blog Persona
- Find out more about who reads your books.
This topic is too large to cover here, but to summarize, search online for information about your subject or genre. Organizations will often produce reports with just the demographic details you need. For example, the Romance Writers of America website produces annual reports on their readers, including age, where they purchase their books, etc. If you write nonfiction, check out industry websites or market research reports, such as the 2013 Overview & Status of The U.S. Self-Improvement Market. If you’re stumped or not finding what you need, ask a local librarian for help.
- Convert those raw bits of information into useful data.
Look over the results. If it says your subject is of interest to people 27-45 years old, think of what you know about people in that age range. Jot down notes on it and do a bit more Googling if necessary. Find a photo of a person of the appropriate age, gender and ethnicity to help further bring the persona to life.
- Fill in the Blanks. Organize that data and further refine it.
Use the Build the Perfect Reader Worksheet to construct your persona, answering the questions and organizing your information.
- Write the Narrative. Bring the persona to life.
Raw facts don’t tell you as much about a person as their motivations, goals and outlook on life. Weave a narrative about your fictional person’s life in a few paragraphs.
Print out your persona and hang it where you’ll see it when you work on your book marketing. If you really get into creating personas, Xtensio has a free user persona creator available.