How To Create a Persona and Identify Your Target Audience

The purpose of creating a persona is to take the abstract concept of an audience and create something concrete and relatable from it. Your audience is reachable, you just have to figure out who they are. The following list of three questions is designed to help you do that.

Who are they as a person? You start with figuring out what they’re like. Bring that hazy idea of your audience into reality. This will help you figure out how to talk to them in your marketing copy and on social media. It’ll set the tone for the conversation.

Why would they buy this book? Then ask yourself why they’ll actually buy your book. Identify the pain points they have and describe how this book will help relieve them. This step is very important for representatives and other book buyers in the industry. It also helps you know what things to highlight in marketing copy and on social media posts.

Where are they? Finally, brainstorm places you can find this person. Online, in person, or through print media. This step will give you a roadmap when creating the contact list.

Question 1: Who are they as a person?

Start with the superficial basics.

Think of this as the stuff you might find in their Facebook or Twitter bio.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexuality (if relevant)
  • Education level
  • Political party (if relevant)
  • Where do they live? City or suburb? A specific part of the country?
  • What’s their job and how much money do they make?
  • What’s their family like? What’s their relationship with them? Where do they fall in the sibling line up?
  • Are they dating? Married? Do they have kids?
  • How many friends do they have? One or two close ones, or a large group?
  • How do they feel about the environment?

Then figure out their personality and habits.

  • Are they an introvert or extrovert?
  • Are they a dog or a cat person? Do they even own a pet?
  • What style of clothes do they wear? Where do they go shopping for clothes?
  • What’s their alcohol of choice? Wine? Beer? Fancy cocktails?
  • Do they like to travel?
  • What kind of car do they drive? Do they take public transportation? Do they bike?
  • What do they do on the weekends?
  • What kind of sports are they into? Do they play them or are they just fans?
  • Are they physically active? What kinds of exercise do they enjoy?
  • What’s their Hogwarts house?
  • iPhone or Android?
  • Are they part of any fandoms?
  • What kind of food do they like? What’s their favorite kind of candy?
  • What’s their favorite color?
  • Are they organized or are they kind of a hot mess?
  • Do they dream big or are they happy where they are?

Note where they get their news and entertainment from.

  • Where do they get their news?
  • What kind of books do they read? What movies do they watch? Think genres and themes.
  • What kind of music do they listen to? Who’s their favorite artist?
  • Where do they find their music, movies, and books? Do they search for them or do they find them through recommendations?
  • What kind of social media are they involved in? Do they actively post or just lurk in the background? What kind of things do they post?

Finally, you can identify their core beliefs.

  • What do they care about most in the world?
  • What are the ideas and beliefs that define them as a person?
  • What’s their biggest dream?

Now Give Them a Name!

This is the final step in humanizing them. What is the name that fits this person?

Question 2: Why would they buy this book?

What is it about this book that will connect with them? Why will they take their money and actually buy this book? Does it:

  • fit in with the things they already read and listen to?
  • have a story or theme that aligns with their core beliefs?
  • look good and fit their aesthetic?
  • seem like something that would be recommended to them?
  • support a cause they care about?

Question 3: Where are they?

  • What kind of blogs will they find this book on? Remember, it doesn’t have to just be book blogs.
    • Basic book blogs (obviously)
    • Specific genre book blogs
    • Travel blogs
    • LGBTQ+ blogs
  • Podcasts? What kind?
  • What magazines? Feminist? Travel? Think outside the box.
  • What kind of lists would they find this book on?
  • What kind of stores (not including the basics like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Powell’s) would they find this book in? Would they find it on a cruise?

Remember to have fun!

This is by no means a complete list, and each question doesn’t need to be answered for each persona. This is a guide to help you find the right questions to ask when crafting this persona and this exercise is most effective when you have a group of people doing it.

Most importantly, have fun with this! The joy you get when you recommend the perfect book to a friend is exactly why identifying target audiences is so fun, because it’s basically the exact same concept, just executed on a larger scale.