Write Brained: To Profile or not to Profile.

Posted by on Aug 10, 2012 in Audience Profiling, Blog, Copywriting, Write Brained | 0 comments

Write Brained: To Profile or not to Profile.

I know what you’re thinking. “Mary, how in the world does personality profiling fit into copywriting? I mean, I can understand audience profiling, but personality? You’ve GOT to be kidding me.”

Nope. No joking here. Personality profiling is one of the single best things you can do to build your audience profile. Edgar has covered some of the finer points of personality profiling in the past, but as GGM’s chief personality profiler, I figured I should give some more insight and squash a few misconceptions.

First, let’s define “personality profile.” It’s more than just the simplified version many people peg onto their general audiences. A true personality profile goes well beyond that. It categorizes people into boxes and gives a full, detailed look into what they do, how they act, what they’re driven by, and who they connect to. There are several personality profiling systems used today–you may not have even noticed you were profiling!

A sampling of just a few common profiling systems is listed below:

(Our preferred method is the DISC System, and I’ll be sure to outline these all in a later installment for your reading pleasure, but for now, onto business.)

The overall company can benefit from creating personality profiles in several ways, but there are two major pros to creating a personality profile for copywriting specifically:

Understand your audience.
Getting the basics about your audience down is one thing, but a personality profile gives you so much more than that. You will be able to pin your audience down to a T–not just know their motives but understand them. You will actually understand their behavior, and their behavior is exactly what you need to analyze if you want them to do any business with you.

Sharpen your writing.
Remember my Write Brained article about giving your writing some character? How do you figure out which personality you should write to? One of the funny things about personality profiling is that most excellent copywriters do it whether they realize it for not for this exact reason. They need to “fit in” with their target audience. Birds of a feather flock together, right? In order to connect with your audience, you need to know more than what they want and who they are. You need to understand the finer points of their individual personality, and you need to connect with that personality.

Sounds great, right? But there are some major misconceptions about personality profiling that make people skeptical to try it.

How can you possibly compile a whole group into one personality type?
Though I understand the concern here, unless you’re marketing to the world at large, the individuals in your audience at large will have some major personality similarities. That’s why they belong to that “target” in the first place! Certain personality types are drawn to certain careers, hobbies, and activities, so you should be able to get the majority of your audience pegged into a similar personality slot pretty easily.

This, of course, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for exceptions–always be mindful of your audience!

Aren’t people too individual to be stuck into personality boxes?
We’d all like to believe this, wouldn’t we? But the reason personality profiling systems even exist is because people have realized there are inherently shared personality traits among human beings. That being said, this is the misconception that all personality systems function in a black-and-white world. They don’t. Personality profiles are actually quite varied and allow for hundreds of thousands of variables. Basically, our personalities may be made up of the same “parts,” but our ratios are all different.

Hopefully I was able to clarify some questions and concerns about personality profiling for you. If not, please let me know in the comments section below!

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