audience

Roles, Goals and Worries: A Simple Framework for Understanding Your Audience

One of the key elements of an effective content marketing strategy is defining your audience.

We often hear about developing personas for our key audiences. One simple framework you can use to develop your personas and create insightful, actionable profiles of your audience is RGW, or roles, goals and worries.

I previously touched on this approach in my post on creating a content marketing framework, but want to explore it in more detail here and explain how each of these categories can be used to inform your personas and your strategy.

Roles: understanding their place in the world

In order to get beyond the basic description of your persona’s job title or position, we want to delve deeper into their role.

The title or position itself tells you a limited amount about the actual, functional part that they play within society or within an organization. The role is a deeper understanding of how they relate to others, and this applies to both B2B and B2C audiences.



If one of your target personas is a mom of small children, her role would be a deeper understanding of this position. She may be the head of the family, in charge of transportation, or the primary decision maker when it comes to health care.

A mom’s functional role within a family extends beyond just her title as “mom.”

Similarly, the role of, say the marketing director of a company, may vary depending on the company size, market and other factors. In order to understand this person, you need to understand not just their title or position, but what that means in context.

So, we can develop our persona by better defining the role that this person plays:

Persona Marketing Mary

Marketing Director, SMB

Role SMB Marketing Director

Leads small team (two to three)

Mix of tactical and strategic work

Reports directly to the CEO

Only person on the team with strong marketing experience

Goals: helping your audience succeed

Secondly, we have goals.

Every person (again, whether B2B or B2C) has specific goals for both their personal and professional life.

Understanding the goals of our audience will help us create content that speaks to their needs and desires. This is huge for connecting in an authentic way.

Let’s return to Marketing Mary to consider her goals:

Persona Marketing Mary

Marketing Director, SMB

Role SMB Marketing Director

Leads small team (two to three)

Mix of tactical and strategic work

Reports directly to the CEO

Only person on the team with strong marketing experience

Goals Increase traffic

Generate more leads

Measure ROI

Advance career (VP? CMO?)

Worries: answering their questions

Lastly, we want to consider the worries that our audience has.

Again, this can take the form of both professional or personal worries. By understanding their trepidations and concerns, we are able to answer them head on and provide content that speaks to their mindset.

Here’s another look at the Mary persona once we add in her worries:

Persona Marketing Mary

Marketing Director, SMB

Role SMB Marketing Director

Leads small team (two to three)

Mix of tactical and strategic work

Reports directly to the CEO

Only person on the team with strong marketing experience

Goals Increase traffic

Generate more leads

Measure ROI

Advance career (VP? CMO?)

Worries Not meeting growth projections

Managing all of the day-to-day operations

Balancing the marketing spend

Proving ROI

From these characteristics, we can build a robust and insightful profile for each persona.

This practice will help develop an effective strategy that speaks to your audience on their level and provides you with the insight into what kinds of content, topics and channels are most appropriate for reaching them.


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Over to you

How do you conceptualize and document your content marketing personas? Share tips, strategies and ideas in the comments.

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