The buyer persona and message development templates Adele Revella provides on her site are an interesting reference as you construct yours. As stand-alone templates for buyer personas, I wouldn’t recommend any of them. On the other hand, there are some great strategic components and insights you might pull from these to help put some backbone in a fluffier persona template. Check ’em out at Buyer Persona Institute.
Kathleen Booth, CEO of Quintain Marketing provides some good tips on developing and using personas in her blog post Using Audience Personas To Improve Your Marketing ROI, although I might suggest the “how to use” part at the end is relatively “lite” on content, and doesn’t quite deliver much in terms of how to effectively develop a strategic framework based on personas, customer lifecycles, the buyer’s journey, etc. In the end, it’s not a strong “how to” piece, but it offers some good bits of wisdom. Perhaps better if the title started with “A few good tips on…”
UX pro Jason Crane presents an interesting approach to lean persona development on his snapperwolf.com site in this post “How to create a lean persona.” Although the output seems “light” (IMHA) from a strategic perspective, the point seems more to be about speed of execution. He offers a few steps to building and using lean personas – ones that could give you a quick start to using, then refine over time. Good tips.
The folks at Agile UX have a few good articles about creating and using personas within the context of agile-based user experience work. Although we tend to focus on the persona for content strategy and content marketing, there’s a fine line — in fact, considerable overlap — between these various pursuits. That, and worth pointing out that agile approaches to UX are worth looking at when consider approaches to balancing the strategy and the execution components of Content Strategy methodologies. That said, a few of their articles worth reviewing include:
- A day in life of an AgileUX Practitioner: Personas
- Personas in Agile Development: YES we can!
- Agile UX in Practice
- User Stories: hear the User Voice! (Note this isn’t directly persona-specific, but the user-centric approach to developing “user stories” in agile methodologies relates well to persona development.)
The web site and product usability smarty-pantses at User Interface Engineering – Jared Spool & Co. – are long-time thought leaders on the creation and use of personas. The UIE site contains a wealth of reference, tips, good ideas and best practices for creating and using personas.
UIE has a number of great articles, posts and other content on personas. A few good ones:
- This list of persona related articles and posts (which contain a few of the links that follow) is a good starting point, but doesn’t list *all* of their great ideas. Dig deeper and follow the links within the articles to uncover more great reference material. You can also use their built-in Google site search to see *everything* persona-related on UIE, although with 400+ search results, there’s almost too much to consume in one sitting.
- Travel back in time more than a decade to read UIE’s Personas and Goal-Directed Design: An Interview with Kim Goodwin for some great points that stand the test of time. This is a solid piece from well before the current buzz about buyer personas and content marketing.
- Perfecting Your Personas is another great oldie-but-a-goody on the UIE site from way back in 2005. In it, Kim Goodwin presents some great best practices for developing personas — something anyone creating personas could use as a great litmus test.
- Five Factors for Successful Persona Projects and The Essence of a Successful Persona Project, both written by Jared Spool, are packed with the kind wisdom he typically endows on any subject he writes about. These both contain great ideas on approaching persona development projects. And, not only does Mr. Spool share great thoughts on what to do, he also offers great advice on what not to do with 5 Ways To Suck Value Away From Your Persona Projects.
- Last, but not least, is this great piece, Crappy Personas vs. Robust Personas in which Mr. Spool – a bit snarky of tone – digs down to uncover the underlying sentiment that motivates THIS site (persona-template.com) — to dig through the haystack of fluffy persona templates to find a few robust needles.
Nice work, UIE. Nice work.
Here’s a nice, clean and simple one-page persona template “shared by the folks at Orange Bus” presented here on the “Wireframes” blog of Linowski Interaction Design. Short and sweet, but captures some good core information about a persona. This would be a good starter for developing a set of usable personas. It’s in .PDF format, so you’ll have to re-create it in a file format that works best for you and your organization. Good to look at for reference at least.
The focus of the persona is to capture primary demographic info, the persona’s “back story,” motivations, frustrations and, “Their ideal experience” — all good things, and nicely captured as a one-pager.
Props to HubSpot for providing some useful “how to” info about creating personas in their free*** persona template and instructions: “The Marketer’s Guide to Creating Buyer Personas.” The template (in .PPTX format) is a reasonably good resource, although it doesn’t quite live up to my high standards for being a strategic tool. It’s better than nothing, and better than the usual fluff template. It would be a good starting point to build on.
*** It’s “Free” but you’ll have to submit your contact information in order to get your paws on it.
The Persona. Everyone is talking and tweeting and posting about them. There are lots of persona examples and persona templates out there. We’re on the hunt for the good persona template — one that might provide both creative and strategic direction. We’ll search for and look at all examples we come across, show you some good ones, point you to persona references and to others who how to make a persona. We’ll help you learn how to create a persona and how to use personas (or personae if you’re that kind of person). Please submit examples and suggestions and links to persona templates.