I have a fake priest. His name is Fr. Bob.
Why do I have a fake priest, you ask? Fr. Bob is the character persona I've created for one of my two target audiences: parishes.
A character persona is a made up person that is the epitome of your target audience. This isn't just a stick figure outline that you make as a one-time exercise; this is someone you should get to know very, very well.
Here are some fun facts about my character persona, Fr. Bob:
He was ordained six years ago and is in his first year at his first assignment as pastor.
He's easy-going and funny, but serious when it comes to the faith.
He runs the parish like a business but the church like a disciple-maker.
As a new pastor, he's completely over-extended himself and only sleeps 4 hours a night trying to do everything for his people.
In the brief spare time he gets, he enjoys cooking and bike riding.
His favorite book is The Divine Comedy, he enjoys comedy movies, and his favorite podcasts are all about murder mysteries.
I could go on and on about this fake priest I've created. I have so many details about him because each of these allows me to market to him in a meaningful way.
But wait, I can hear you protest. Won't being so specific in my marketing not reach everyone else? Won't it just reach this random Fr. Bob who likes murder mystery podcasts?
Here's the thing: even though I'm writing to Fr. Bob, it will speak to the shared existence of every worn out pastor. And each of them will think, she gets it. She understands me.
By targeting that specific individual's pain point, I make them "feel seen" as the kids say and trigger that reaction of, just take my money, because they finally feel like someone else gets it.
It also helps because I am not a burnt out pastor, nor a man, nor do I personally like The Divine Comedy. I am not my target audience.
I'm going to repeat that because it's important: I am not my target audience.
So writing and designing and marketing for Fr. Bob takes me out of myself and helps me to think about the other. Because I may really like the wording or phrasing or design of something personally, but the chances of that same wording or phrasing or design also appealing to a 42 year old priest are slim.
Your character persona may be different, but it requires you to take your target audience - say, lapsed Catholics if you're a parish looking to evangelize - and get to know them so well that you can create a whole person that embodies everything they are.
So go take some time right now to create your own Fr. Bob!
Not sure how to develop your ministry's character persona? I can help! Contact me to set up a 30 minute character persona consult and let's get you your own fake priest (or whoever your target audience is)!