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A Simple Persona Building Exercise for Marketers [Free Template]

[fa icon="clock-o"] Jun 22, 2016 5:53:35 PM [fa icon="user"] Jonah Story

Persona_Building_Writing_Exercise.jpgBuilding personas is only difficult when we overcomplicate it by thinking of our customers as potential leads versus normal people. You can avoid this trap by stepping outside of formal persona building tools and instead using a simple writing exercise.

This exercise provides a creative and simple way to describe your customer while also building your personas.

Keep in mind that the main objective is to get your thoughts actually written down on paper in each section before you begin to edit the details. Also, I recommend you download and print the template at the bottom of this blog for future use.

1. Name

You can have fun when naming your persona, but do this at the end of the exercise. It will allow you to match the name to the unique individual more accurately. The same goes for the photo you choose to represent this person! I use my Facebook and Linkedin network to find photos for personas - it helps me draw more of a connection.

2. Job Title

List a few possible job titles here, but don’t get too focused on perfecting the title. Some basic research will bring this to light.

3. Backstory

This is where you will write a brief excerpt about the customer in order to gain context of who they are. Basically, this is a mini bio of the individual that sheds light on how they arrived at their current position. You can also add a few of their aspirations or “wants” to round it off.

4. Activities

This should mostly focus on the different activities they might engage in as part of their professional role. For B2C folks, activities might just be some personal things your ideal customers love to do. Don’t be afraid to cite activities that may relate to the problem they are experiencing or the solution you intend to deliver to this customer.

5. Company Descriptors

Often it can be tough to fully relate to the customer without first feeling confident in who they work for. It’s not always imperative, however, it does tend to bring more clarity to the daily life of the individual. Write some basic descriptions of their company, such as location, annual earnings, number of employees, years of existence, etc.

6. Demographics

As marketers, we tend to know what demographics are. However, we also know how important it is that the demos are thoroughly researched and accurate. For the sake of this exercise, I want you to relax on the research component and just give your best guess at what demographics you think might best describe this customer, such as age, location, education, gender, race, religion, relationship status, etc.

7. Goals

Write goals that the client might have as they relate to your particular offerings. I like to think about the major pain points this customer is having that I might solve. You can also include other professional or life goals if it helps you get to know them better.

8. Currently

This section is somewhat related to the backstory in that it’s more of a present-day look at the customer and how they are currently solving their problems or pursuing their goals. 

9. Desired Testimonial

This is by far my favorite section! First, this should be a few sentences long. No cheap testimonials! I suggest you write a testimonial that you would absolutely love to see happen in real life. Something that illustrates the client’s fictitious experience with your product or service. You can even include their opinion on the other products or services they’ve tried and how they fell short of yours.


Personas are intended to help you connect with your customer, not just describe them.

You can download this Persona Building Exercise template by clicking here.

If you feel ready for the next step, we recommend you dig deeper and create beautiful, well-formatted buyer personas that you can share with your entire company.



Jonah Story

Written by Jonah Story

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