One of the most important questions we as communicators ask is this: “Who is my audience?”
We probably have a thousand ways to answer that question. We name our audience members. We talk to them. We research them. And we build a shared image of that one person we're trying to reach.
The question - “Who is my audience?” - applies across all media, whether on-air, online, or in print. It also applies to telling stories.
If we want to be effective communicators in 2017, we need to work on our basic storytelling skills. Our world listens to stories. It's impossible to resist a good story. And when we take the time to identify our audience – know what makes them tick – we can tell the type of story that connects with their hearts and stays with them.
Ann Wylie (WylieComm.com) is a writing coach and consultant and shares four ways that she identifies and understands her audience:
1) Ask “Who is my audience?” Who are you trying to reach? Who have you identified as your number one priority?
2) What recent experiences are influencing my audience? What's happened in their lives? What's happening in the big picture that will affect their thinking?
3) What is this really about? What story are you trying to tell? Why does it matter? How do I want to affect my audiences' lives?
4) Who is the right person for this channel, this format? In many cases, you are the spokesperson. In other cases, you'll need to determine who will best connect with your audience.
These are, obviously, basic questions. But it's good sometimes to go back to the basics and make sure we've identified our audience and that we're connecting with them. Once we've answered these questions, we can begin telling stories that matter.
Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media