Building Your Ideal Reader

A worksheet to help you understand your audience on a deeper level

Samantha Zabell
Creators Hub


Getty Images / Natnan Srisuwan

A while ago, I wrote about the importance of finding your ideal reader, as well as a few thought-starters to help writers build that persona. Below, a more advanced version of that exercise, with sections to help you build out that reader on multiple levels, from what their job is to what their greatest fear might be. Keep in mind, you don’t have to answer all of these questions at once, but the more you know about your audience, the easier it is to write for them and reach them!

For more context, here’s a recording of our Creator Workshop on building and connecting with your readers.

The Basics

1. What’s my reader’s age? How does this impact the references they make, their childhood experiences, and how they understand the world?

2. Where do they live? A house, an apartment, with roommates, or solo?

3. What’s their occupation? Is it their dream job, or are they looking for the next opportunity?

4. What’s their relationship status? Do they have a family? If so, how many children, and what ages? Do they have a partner? A pet?

5. What level of education do they have? Where did they attend university, if at all?

6. Do they have siblings? Is their extended family large or small? Do they have a good relationship with their parents?

Understanding Their Interests

1. What culture do they consume? What TV shows do they love, and which do they hate? What books are on their nightstand?

2. What writers do they follow? Who are their favorites (other than me)?

3. What news stories would have caught their eye this week?

4. What do they do for fun? What are their hobbies, and how long have they been doing them?

5. What do they spend money on? If they were to treat themselves for a day, what would they do?

6. How would they spend their perfect Saturday? Are they introverted or extroverted?

Going Deeper

1. What do they value? What is the most important thing in their lives?

2. Do they have a religious faith? What’s their relationship to religion?

3. What is their deepest fear? What’s their greatest hope? What’s their biggest regret?

Their Relationship to You

1. Do they see you as a friend, a peer, an expert, a teacher? How does that change the way you write to them?

2. Do they have a lot of time for reading online? How does that impact how often you write to them?

3. Are they a morning person or a night owl? Do they have a long commute? How does that impact when you hit “publish?”

Run through this exercise and then write a post that is directed, ultra-specifically, to your ideal reader. Try and draw on several of the characteristics you outline in the worksheet to craft the pitch and execution of the post. Tag your posts “SCW Readership” so we can see them!



Samantha Zabell
Creators Hub

Audience development strategist, previously at Medium, Time Inc., Real Simple