Jun 21, 2020
For Creatives

How to Build Your Own Personas

Carly Sheridan

So you read our Persona-Driven Marketing piece and now you want to know how to incorporate this tactic into your marketing? Great! We’ve put together a step-by-step template to help take you from idea to execution. Best of all, we’re using ourselves as a guinea pig. To help you get the most of our content, we’re being completely transparent. The examples used in this article are personas we’ve created for Entrepreneurship & Art. This is Part 2 of a 4 Part Series. We’ll also be sharing how to set up targeted campaigns, and we’ll share the results of those campaigns; so watch this space.

The first step here assumes that you’ve done some research and answered a few key questions about your own company or service. If you haven’t already done that, start here and come back to this article once you reach the “Get Specific” section.

Step 1: Define Your Personas

For this test, we have chosen five personas: the Established Artist, the Emerging Artist, the CEO, the Media Creative, and the Startup Founder. We’ll run each persona through the same series of questions, and answer in as much detail needed to test our theses. Remember, you can always go back and expand on these by either adding additional personas to your own list or by adding more details to each persona.

Step 2: Create a Psychographic Profile

Beginning with Persona 1, the Established Artist, we’ll use the following template that you can copy and apply to your personas. Feel free to add industry specific areas to include here, if you feel any are lacking.

Psychographic Profile Template

Location (rural vs urban is important, but beyond that you can get as specific as you’d like, country, area, city)
Relationship status, children or no children
Occupation and income
Tech tools used daily, iOS vs Android, general tech literacy
Religion, political views, if at all relevant
Values, passion and or hobbies. Consider how your service, tool or product relates to these on a larger scale that will allow them to self-actualize, aka fulfill a purpose that is greater than themselves. At GHS, we refer to this as polishing The Mirror of Desire.

  • Create one summary quote of what matters most to them
  • Create one sentence as to what they gains from using the product or service
  • Create one sentence about how to motivate them to switch to, or choose you from a competitor. This one is optional, you’ll know whether or not it applies to you

Once you put all this together, it may look something like this:

Persona 1

Name: Leah
Age: 44
Location: London
Married, one child
Musician, producer, audio engineer
Net worth $5 million
Established artist, but doesn’t live excessively; not interested in the typical luxury items
Not someone mobbed on the streets, but one with a large and devoted fan base; adored by other musicians  
Active on social media:, 2 million followers mainly on Twitter and Instagram
iPhone user, very tech savvy, understands and embraces deep tech, willing to experiment and innovate
Uses social media to involve fans in creating her music
Her “mirror” or purpose relates to caring deeply about a fair and sustainable music ecosystem; sustainability is an important part of her values overall
Vegan, active, loves the outdoors

  • “Music is a crucial part of our society and needs to be treated as such in a sustainable way.”
  • She uses the site to discover, connect with and support other artists and companies approaching their careers creatively and sustainably

Once you have this bullet point list, you can then clean it up to create a more cohesive story. So once refined, it should look more like this:

Persona 1 - Leah, the Established Artist

“Music is a crucial part of our society and needs to be treated as such.

  • Married, mid 40s, one child, lives in London
  • Works as an artist, producer and audio engineer
  • Has amassed a significant net worth throughout her career but is not interested in luxury items
  • Active on social media, 2 million followers mainly on Twitter and Instagram. She often uses social media to involve fans in creating music
  • iPhone user, very tech savvy, understands and embraces deep tech, willing to experiment and innovate
  • Not someone mobbed on the streets but one with a large and devoted fan base, adored by other musicians. Collaborates with other artists frequently
  • Sustainability is her Mirror and Purpose; her art is a byproduct of this: an important part of her values, a fair and sustainable music ecosystem and world

She uses the site to discover, connect with and support other artists and companies approaching their careers creatively and sustainably.

Persona 2 - Brian, the Emerging Artist

“Music is a creative outlet that lets me speak about the issues that matter most to me.”

  • Single, mid 20s, lives in a small community outside of Boston
  • Studies musicology, creative writing and music production full time; plays shows locally often and dreams of touring internationally
  • Lives at home to focus on his studies and music career. His studies are a tool to achieve his purpose
  • Basic tech understanding and interest, he loves the tools and devices he knows and uses, like the Guitar Toolkit app, but knows little of the tools he isn’t using
  • Small social media following, and not very active. He focuses on the music, more so than the tactics to spread his music. Posts monthly, mostly videos of himself playing the guitar or of the band playing, upcoming shows etc
  • Mental health, animal rights and human rights are all important issues to him and are often referenced in his music, raising awareness for these issues is his purpose

He uses the site as a resource to learn more about digital marketing and for tips and tools he can incorporate into his own platforms and music in order to help him achieve his purpose.

Persona 3 - Sean, the Musician CEO

“Music, and protecting musicians, is my life’s work and purpose.”

  • Married, early 50s, two children, lives in Austin
  • Grew up in the punk scene and played in a few trailblazing bands, worked as working musician for over 20 years
  • Transitioned to a career in law, specializing in copyright, licensing and intellectual property rights working with artists, publishers and labels. He is now the president of a major music label. Law has become his tool to achieve his purpose
  • Devoted Apple user, active on social media, mostly Twitter
  • Politically active and openly shares these views online
  • Highly respected among other musicians and music lovers, is looked to as influential, people seek out his advice and faithfully follow his recommendations

He uses the site for industry news, trends and thought pieces. He particularly enjoys the weekly podcast and uses it to navigate content on the site.

Person 4 - Alexa, the Media Creative

“Our digital lives and selves are our truest.”

  • Partnered, mid 30s, one child, lives in NYC
  • Journalist, podcast host, producer
  • Lives a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. Rents, doesn’t own. Travels once or twice a year, economically
  • Liberal, concerned with human rights and equality
  • Android user, always on the latest device latest release version. Prefers her desktop to a laptop
  • Deeply interested in internet culture and its weird interdependencies. She is an avid video game player and film lover, and is seen as an authority on all of these topics

She uses the site for inspiration and to find interesting stories she can translate into her own work.

Persona 5 - Michelle, the Startup Founder

“Musicians should be amplified, treated fairly, and paid appropriately.”

  • Married, early 40s, lives in Lisbon
  • Founder of a music streaming company
  • Background in tech, expert coder and general music lover
  • Very financially stable, owns multiple properties, and travels frequently, primarily for work but also for pleasure often combining the two
  • Her tech tools are her most important possessions as they keep her connected in the office and on the road
  • Bounces regularly between her Apple watch, iPad, iPhone, and desktop
  • A sought-after public speaker and commentator

She uses the site for digital marketing resources and to learn more about interesting company and artist approaches to music marketing.

Step 3: Align Personas with Content

Now that you have a profile for each persona with a defined purpose or Mirror of Desire, you can start to align them with content. For example, it would be fair to make the assumption that Leah and Alexa may be more likely to engage with profiles and George’s Forbes pieces, while Brian and Michelle may seek more tactical content like Dan’s Music Industry Swipe File series or this very article. Sean represents an opportunity to consider including more industry news type of content into our editorial plans, and he, Brian and Michelle may also be most likely to gravitate towards the podcast.

Step 4: Test

Now with any initial approach to persona-driven marketing, much of this is based on aspirational or assumed reasoning (though remember, there should be some qualitative and quantitative research that goes into building your personas). The personas above have been designed to help us achieve our own self-actualization. The only way to refine your personas is by experimenting with your theories through campaigns, A/B testing and data analysis—which is exactly what we’ll be looking at Part 3.

This is the key, if we’re right, some of these people will view the Entrepreneurship & Art site as a tool to help them achieve their own purpose. If and when this occurs, they will want to share this “secret” and tell their friends, becoming teachers themselves, meaning we’ve reached the second of the GHS models, Customer as Teacher. This is the goal: no band, brand, or website succeeds unless and until they shift the burden of promotion from themselves to their customers.

Photo by mauro mora on Unsplash

Carly Sheridan

Carly Sheridan is a writer and editor passionate about technology and the arts, and the intersection of the two in a digital world. Her experience over the last decade has ranged from working as a journalist in Canada and South America for lifestyle publications, to the Director of Content and Communications for a digital art blockchain company in Berlin, and as a consultant to several startups across Europe. A storyteller at heart, she is forever trying to finish her first novel.