The Importance of Persona and The Value of North Star Readers

Photo by Tom Gainor on Unsplash

Tl;dr: When I write, I think about meeting the expectations of readers. In particular, I think of Bradley and Graham. Here’s why.

I hold myself accountable to the goal of writing one blog post every business day. I’m not 100% perfect on this, but the record is pretty respectable.

In addition to my production goal (I try to start and finish a post in under 40 minutes), I have a quality goal.

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The quality goal is based on my understanding of what the blog audience wants to be delivered consistently. While this blog is, first and foremost, a workshop, I do my best to turn out quality work as often as possible.

Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.

I still post it anyway because the public nature of the post reinforces the accountability, brings the idea to light, and also delivers on the inherent brand promise…never stop marketing.

However, the way I assess quality is by asking myself the following question:

Is this something that Graham and Bradley will find valuable?

Meet the Blog Audience Personae

I am fortunate to have a large, diverse, and very impressive readership. It’s not huge, but that doesn’t bother me at all. I’m writing for a very specific kind of person.

Bradley Rotter

I’ll start off with Bradley, since he’s the #2-ranked blog reader. Don’t worry, I’ve told him this fact and he understands the justification…as you will shortly.

If you google Bradley, you will see the impressive resume of someone who continually (and I’m talking about since the early 1980’s) has the ability to see the potential and impact of disruptive technologies well before others do. His track record speaks for itself.

Bradley helped pioneer financial futures, did the first electronic trade in the bond market (cantor) and started investing in hedge funds in 1982 and seeding them in 1985. He has been breathing crypto since 2013 and investing broadly in the space with a fine filter.

I have no idea how he found my blog, but the fact that he reads it regularly and calls me the “the marketing whisperer” is pretty much all I need on a daily basis for a self-esteem boost.

That is not someone you want to disappoint. Nor, is he someone who deals in BS. If he thinks the post has value, it has value. And, I know that he is looking for a specific type of insightful value, so I push myself to think at that level.


Speaking of value, let’s move to Graham.

He keeps a lower profile than Bradley so no link, but he has a special place in my heart.

Back in March 2017 before things got crazy in crypto (BTC was around $900-$1500 at that time), I get an email from an address

It asks me which projects I think are interesting and worth paying attention to.

“I read your blog. You’re one of the few people who cover projects in depth. Who do you like?”

At this point, I am thinking “who is this guy?” so I write back something like “sorry, man, this seems too sketchy.”

He responds. “I’ll prove to you I’m serious. Send me your Bitcoin wallet address.”

Figuring it can’t hurt, I send it to him.

I get an email:

“check your wallet now.”

I did and there was 1 Bitcoin more in it.

“Ok,” I wrote, “now you have my attention.”

And we went from there.

Since then, he’s been blog reader #1 (he paid for it, so he deserves it, right?)

We’ve traded emails and talked on the phone a few times, so I have a respectable understanding of his worldview and what he values.

Like Bradley, if he finds it valuable, it’s valuable.

BTW, I changed his name and email to protect his identity, but the gist is the same.

He’s also the person who suggested the “tl;dr:” at the beginning of each blog post to make it easier for him.

Tl;dr: stands for “too long, didn’t read” and is meant to be a summary.

The Importance of a Persona

When you are creating content or a product, heck…when you are doing marketing of any kind, it’s really, really helpful to think about your target audience.

Give the customer a name. A face. A story. Personalize it. That way, it becomes less abstract as a concept and more concrete.

Plus, there’s an emotional component that inspires you to do more.

You can let down a statistic of a customer number or even an email address without feeling bad.

It’s tougher to do that to an actual person.

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The Importance of Persona and The Value of North Star Readers was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.