the blog

Anatomy of a Persona: The ‘Invisible’ Miracle Weapon in Your Marketing Arsenal

Anatomy of a Persona: The ‘Invisible’ Miracle Weapon in Your Marketing Arsenal


Forget demographics. If you want your marketing programs to deliver remarkable ROI, you’ve got to go deeper. The public will never actually see this part of your work, but when you take the time to understand personas and create useful persona documents, the results will be visible in the bottom line.

Whether you’re already using persona documents, or ready to rev your results by adding them, here is what you need to know to get the most out of them.

The Persona Concept

Every purchase–whether it’s a pack of gum or a B2B contract for facilities maintenance across 30 locations–has at least one human being on each end of the transaction. A living, breathing, thinking, feeling human being, and we human beings are emotional creatures–even when making business decisions.

A good persona document uncovers who that human being is, what he cares about, what drives him, and how best to engage with him to encourage desired outcomes.

In other words, the persona document tells us exactly what we need to do in order to stop writing content that sounds nice and start writing content that actually accomplishes our goals.

The Quick-Persona Process

1. Define the client’s top one, two, or three target personas. “Top” personas may be defined by profitability, desire to penetrate new markets, or some other factor such as social responsibility or a sense of fun. Look for the human being, not just a job description, and specifics, not averages.

2. Once again, the inside of the client’s brain is filled with information you need. Interview someone who is close to the strategic direction of the business and who also understands the customers. Focus first on fears, pains, and hopes (see below).

3. Step 2 is quite adequate as a starting point in many cases. When desired and convenient, you may wish to interview two or three existing clients who fit the profile to get their input.

4. Use the template below to create a great persona document.

The Anatomy of a Persona Document

We’ve been working with persona documents (not always under that name) for close to a decade. We created this handy guide, based on a persona developed for one of our clients, to give you a leg up and get you creating useful persona documents quickly. Click on the images to enlarge & read the notes, then print them out as a reference:

Anatomy of Persona Doc 1

Anatomy of a Persona Doc 2

Anatomy of a Persona Doc 3

Are you already using persona documents? What are you doing differently that’s working for you? What will you change after reading this?

Was this useful? Share it with your circles right now (below), and connect with us via social media (top right). We’ll share more great stuff every week.

If you’re looking for a valuable content partner, catch up with us and ask how we can help you create or enhance persona documents, and use them to deliver extraordinarily effective content. You’ll be delighted at just how profitable it can be.


Fen Druadìn Head (formerly Heather Head) is an author, as well as the founder of Scopcity. When she is not writing, running the business, or chasing down bad guys on Twitter, she enjoys hiking, snuggling with her husband and three boys, and avoiding the kitchen.

Creating Viral Content: One Audaciously Cheeky Commercial, Three Practical Takeaways - Scopcity on September 17, 2013 AT 08 am

[…] going to start with the assumption that you have a strong understanding of your marketing personas, as well as a deep knowledge of the product or service’s unique value proposition. You understand […]

Does Your Mobile-Friendly Site Redesign Completely Miss the Point? - Scopcity on August 12, 2014 AT 12 pm

[…] answers to this question are in your persona document (if you need help with persona documents, we’ve got just the thing right here). In short, the four key things you want to know […]

Tech Buyers are People, Too: Humanizing Your Marketing on August 27, 2014 AT 09 am

[…] Who are my buyers? […]

Five NFL Teams Tackling Content Marketing the Right Way - Scopcity on September 4, 2014 AT 08 am

[…] Ravens’ website makes the list because it really engages the team’s fans and appeals to their emotions and need for belonging to a group in which they believe. The site develops a sense of community, […]

Mapping Content to the Buyer's Journey - Scopcity on October 27, 2014 AT 09 am

[…] an understanding of the buying decision makers, influencers, and stakeholders. This means creating buyer persona documents for each major group that will be involved in the buying […]

Three Reasons Your Premium Content Offer Sucks - Scopcity on November 3, 2014 AT 02 pm

[…] worked with the organization to identify who they wanted to target, and create a buyer persona for the primary audience. Next we determined which part of the buying process the piece was best […]

Marketing Your New SaaS: Stage by Stage - Scopcity on March 3, 2015 AT 09 am

[…] have an up-to-date list of primary features to work from. If you’ve got persona documents (you DO have persona documents, right??), make sure the marketing team has those […]

Content Marketing Lessons from a 30-yr-old Billionaire on September 29, 2015 AT 02 pm

[…] to start with the buyer, with understanding who our buyer is and what the buyer genuinely needs. Buyer personas and buyer journey mapping are our tools to getting there. The most important thing we can do […]

How to Write a Killer Press Release - Scopcity on October 21, 2015 AT 09 am

[…] to your intended audience. This means that, as for all forms of content, you must start by understanding your audience. Potential audiences you may pitch your release to […]

Comments are closed.

View by Category