How do I Create a Persona?

Searching for Potential Persons of Peace

The goal of a persona is to create a fictional character that is a representation of your target audience.

A key role in multiplication movements is the idea of a Person of Peace (See Luke 10). This person may or may not become a believer themselves, but they tend to open their network to receive and respond to the Gospel. This tends to lead to generations of multiplying
disciples and churches.

Media to Disciple Making Movement strategy is on the lookout not only for seekers must ideally a Person of Peace. So, an option to consider would be to base the fictional character you create on what a Person of Peace in your context could look like.

What do we know about Persons of Peace? Namely, that they are faithful, available and teachable. What would a faithful, available, teachable person in your context look like?

Another option would be to pick the segment of the population which you believe would be the most fruitful and to base your Persona character off of this particular segment. Regardless of which option that you choose, here are the steps to creating a Persona based on your
target audience.  

Steps to creating a Persona

Step 1. Pause to ask for wisdom from the Holy Spirit.

The good news is “if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” James 1:5. That’s a promise to hold onto, friends.

Step 2. Create a shareable document

Use an online collaborative document like Google Docs where this Persona can be stored and referenced often by others.

Step 3. Take Inventory of your Target Audience

Review Relevant Existing Research

What research already exists for your target audience?

  • Missions research
  • Organizational research
  • Media usage

Review Any Existing Analytics

If you are already using website, take time to do a report on the analytics.

  • How many people are coming to your site
  • How long are they staying? Do they come back? What action do they take while on your site?
  • At what point do they leave your site? (bounce rate)

How do they find your site? (referral, ad, searching?)

  • What keywords did they search for?

Step 4. Answer the Three W’s

Initially your persona will be more of a hypothesis or guess based on how well you know your target audience. Start with what you know and then make a plan for how to dig deeper and gain even more insight.

If you are an outsider to your target people group, you will need to spend significantly more time researching your persona or rely heavily on a local partner to help shape content for your target audience.

Who is my audience?

  • How old are they?
  • Are they employed?
    • What is their job status?
    • What is their salary?
  • What is their relationship status?
  • How educated are they?
  • What is their socioeconomic status?
  • Where do they live?
    • In a city? In a village?
    • With whom do they live?

Example: Jane Doe is 35 years old and is currently a cashier at the local small grocery. She is single after having just been broken up with by her boyfriend and lives with her parents and brother. She only makes enough money from working at the grocery to cover her brother’s
monthly medical bills…  

Where is the audience when they use media?

  • Are they at home with family?
  • Is it in the evening after the kids go to bed?
  • Are they riding the metro between work and school?
  • Are they alone? Are they with others?
  • Are they primarily consuming media through their phone, computer, television, or tablet?
  • What websites, apps are they using?
  • Why are they using media?

What do you want them to do?

  • Why would they go to your page/site?
    • What is their motivation?
    • What do they want that your content can help them achieve their goals and values?
    • At what point of their spiritual journey would your content meet them?
  • What is the result you want to happen with the various points of engagement?
    • Private message you on your social media page?
    • Share your content with others?
    • Debate to increase engagement and an audience?
    • Read articles on your website?
    • Call you?
  • How do you want them to find your content?

Step 5. Describe this person’s life in relative detail.

  • What are their likes, dislikes, desires, and motivations?
  • What are their pain points, felt needs, potential obstacles?
  • What do they value? How do they identify themselves?
  • What do they think of Christians? What kind of interactions have they had? What was the result?
  • Where are they on their spiritual journey (e.g Apathetic, curious,
    confrontational? Describe the steps of the ideal journey they would take
    toward Christ.

More questions to consider:

Example: Jane gets up every morning to take the morning shift at the grocery and comes home at night to fill out and send resumes to employers in her area of expertise. She hangs out with her friends when she can but feels the burden to help provide for her family. She gave up going to the local center of worship a long time ago. Her family still goes for special holidays but she finds herself going less and less. She is not sure that she believes there is God but wishes she could know for sure

Example: All of Jane’s money goes toward her brother’s medical bills. As such, she is financially barely getting by. She wants to bring honor to her family and herself by the way that she looks and what she wears but finding the money to do this is difficult. When she wears certain old clothes/makeup she feels that everyone around her notices— she wishes she had the money to stay with the fashion magazines she reads. Her parents are always talking about how they wish she could get a better job. Maybe then they wouldn’t be in so much debt.

Example: Sometimes Jane wonders if she should keep asking her parents for the money to go out with her friends but her parents insist that it’s okay and, though she wonders, she likes going out with her friends too much to press the issue. Her parents talk often about their worry that they will not have enough to eat— this adds an unconscious pressure to Jane’s life and increases her feelings of being a burden. Surely if she was able to move out it would be better all around for everyone.

Example: Jane is frightened by the idea of her getting sick. Her family already has enough doctor’s bills to pay. If Jane were to get sick herself, and have to miss work, the family would undoubtedly suffer for it. Not to mention, being sick means being stuck at home; which isn’t somewhere she likes to be.

Example: Whenever Jane feels an earthquake or when the heavy rains come, her overall sense of anxiety rises. What would happen if her house was destroyed? She doesn’t like to think about it— her grandmother thinks about it enough for all of them. But sometimes the thought enters her mind, “What would happen to me if I died?” Whenever these questions arise, she turns to the comfort of meditation and pays closer attention to her horoscope. Sometimes she finds herself searching online for answers but finds little comfort there.

Example: Jane grew up in a home where any show of anger or frustration or any sign of tears would be met with physical and emotional shaming. While she tries to avoid any such dramatic expressions now, every once in a while she lets her anger or sadness show and she is once again met with shaming words. She can feel her heart become more and more numb to them on the surface. Should she care anymore? Should she keep giving her heart and showing herself only to be met with shame? Not only this, but she has accustomed herself to shutting down in her relationships with guys. Every time she has opened herself to a guy, he has responded with going too far and taking advantage of her vulnerability. She feels hardened and wonders if any relationship could make her feel secure and loved.

Example: Jane comes from a mixed ethnic background. This causes quite a bit of tension in her heart as she feels that identifying with just one would mean hurting someone she loves. The stories of the past tension between the different peoples both make her respond by taking a tolerant, indifferent stance toward the ethnic groups and the religions they are attached to. However, “Who is she? What is she?” are questions which she sometimes lets herself reflect on– though without much hope or conclusion.

Example: Jane constantly wonders, “If I’m not apart of a certain party, and think the way that this party does; can I get a job? No one knows how long the current political system could hold out. What will I do if it doesn’t hold out? What will I do if it does?” Jane wonders what will happen; what if this or that country takes over? What if there’s another war? She tries not to think about it too often but it’s hard not to.

  • Who/what do they trust?
  • How do they make decisions? What does that process look like?

Example: Jane takes her cues for what truth is from the actions of those around her. She sees the Scriptures as a basis for truth but is influenced greatly by the actions of her friends and family. God, if He exists, must be a source of truth but she is not sure what that truth is or how it affects her. She mostly goes to internet, friends, family and community for what she needs to know.

Example: If Jane were to consider really getting to know Jesus she would be concerned about what others thought about her. She would be especially concerned with what her family thought. Would people think that she had joined one of the dreaded sects that were known to exist? Would everything be different? Would the separations in her family become even wider? Can she trust the people helping her to know Jesus? Are they trying to manipulate her?

5. Create a Persona Profile

Briefly describe the average desired user.

  • 2 pages maximum
  • Include a stock image of the user
  • Name the user
  • Describe the character in short phrases and key words
  • Include a quote that best represents the person

Mobile Ministry Forum provides a template that you can use as well as examples.