Buyer Personas: Getting Into The Rhythm (Again)

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It’s been several months — nearly a school year — since I last wrote on this blog. I’m still writing elsewhere, like the magazines that I work on and some grant proposals, and other blogs you can see on the sidebar. But haven’t written here lately. Why not?

Partly it’s because I’m saying what I have to say on those other sites. I’m discussing activities and issues here in southwest Michigan in print, and expressing my “social” side with gaming content and writing about pop culture. So I think the blog is a place for me to discover my target audience and talk about how I can develop it.

Buyer Personas

I’m borrowing this idea of a target audience or a buyer persona from a lot of places, but mostly this one. A buyer persona is a summary of the perfect person to buy your product (or in my case, use my writing services), including everything from demographics to what they’re afraid of. The recommendation is to draw from your existing pool of clients/customers to see what they’re like. But I don’t have any clients, so let’s start from scratch (ok, to be completely accurate I do have a few “clients” in the form of the magazines I write for, but it’s not enough to use as a reference point).

Our reference tool suggests five sections of a buyer persona:

  1. Demographics (age, current job)
  2. Goals and Challenges
  3. Values and Fears
  4. Marketing Message
  5. Elevator Pitch

We’ll look at them one by one, in the course of putting together a buyer persona that I should seek out. Is that for a “buyer” who is an editor who pays for writing? Is that for a “buyer” who is reading my writing? Is that for a “buyer” who is simply someone to add to my not-very-big-right-now social media circle? Good question; maybe that’s something I’ll be able to answer as I put the persona together.


Age: The kind of person I expect is “consuming” my “content” (writing, probably podcasts and videos soon) is probably like me, perhaps a little older (in the case of magazine articles) or younger (in the case of game creations). Both genders, though tabletop gaming, especially violent or “crunchy,” rules-heavy, games lean toward males.

Well, here’s something to consider already: USR, a rules-light roleplaying game, can be used for games with less emphasis on combat and special abilities, and more on conversation.

Location: my writing is for local publications in the southwest Michigan area. That’s a good start, though obviously this is the Internet and writing can be from and about anywhere on the planet. Are there web publications that need a writer? I know of some, and more research is needed to find out which ones.

Employment: Obviously one set of employers I want to attract is publishers and editors, the people in charge of magazines, newspapers (such as they are) and blogs. Writing is also more than journalism, and writing copy for advertisers or marketing firms is another option. Let’s add them to the list too.

Improving The Site: What You Should See

Whew! A month (more) has passed since I last updated this blog here on the site. I am writing content other places but here, not as much. I do post updates whenever I have a new article published in one of the magazines I write for; it’s a great way to meet people locally, and I know it has a “long tail” — I’ll be the only one writing about Common Ground Church in Kalamazoo (unfortunately, it closed its doors this summer), for future historians to look back on.

It’s a place for both my work and my hobbies: I think both should be together, since both are part of who I am. It could use some touch-ups, though, so I’ll be working on that next. More activity coming for the site as I determine what it is I want to see here.

  • A simple list of articles and game material, with a little animation to make it more visually interesting
  • A regularly updated blog featuring updates on what I’m working on
  • More outbound links and suggested sites

This is all very straightforward, simple stuff, if you have any experience with web design. But it’s easy to overlook if you haven’t paid any attention to your own site… which is what is happening to me.

Editing The Next Round

Part of the writing process is editing: getting a response from  your editor about what needs to be changed, and how the story can be made more readable, easier for your audience to understand and learn from. When I started writing, I was really resistant to the writing idea: I put out my best ideas when I sent you the draft, if I had the answers you’re looking for, I would have put them in the draft. It’s not about the editor trying to tell you what to write, it’s about a “second set of eyes,” a different perspective on the story.

I have a major article I’m working on now that needs to be revised after the edits I’ve been given. In a way, I’m starting the story all over again, with another round of setting up interviews, researching and then sitting down to write. Now to find time to start again…