What is an Audience Persona?
An audience persona is simply a visualization of a "person" who represents your core audience or customer.
It's an essential piece to planning out your website, the content for your website and most of your business strategy!
How is it different from the target market you likely already have in your marketing plan? Your target market is probably much broader than your audience persona will be. When working on a target market, you're thinking in terms of a (typically) large group of people that share a set of demographics and behaviors.
When thinking of our audience persona, you are honing in on a singular view of a person, their demographics, behaviors, goals, challenges, interests and more.
Creating an audience persona will help you better communicate with your customers, online and off, and will guide your strategy in all of your business from marketing, to product/services and more.
Here is a General Framework to Help You Get Started
Start with the Demographics
Make a bulleted list to include age, gender, income level, education, family status, and location.
Behaviors, Challenges, and Needs
Think through your audiences challenges, goals, values, habits, other media they consume and anything else you know or believe to be true about this "person."
Write Out a Story
"As a < type of person >, I want < some goal > so that < some reason >."
Giving your audience persona a story will help you deep dive into how they think and what their real needs are. You can gain some advantage by providing valuable content to your audience that is differentiated from other content their consuming. Your brand and publication can become a destination for them - they'll be more likely to visit often, subscribe, and engage.
Here is an example -