Why reaching and engaging your audience is a key part of your content strategy.
Businesses and industries have their obvious differences, but there’s one thing that’s stayed constant throughout the ages: the need to reach a valuable audience. The main driver behind marketing and advertising has always been motivated by finding an audience, figuring out what they want and thinking of ways to engage with them. The biggest challenge in the process though is finding the right audience. It’s the root for success because once you find them, you can learn their habits and wants, and delivery can properly follow-through on your end.
My background is in publishing and writing; finding and engaging an audience has always been a priority. There’s nothing more frustrating than creating content that gets lost in the Internet because nobody is reading it or sharing it. If there’s little engagement — keeping in mind it takes time while in the initial stages of launch — that’s an indicator that something isn’t working.
This November Scripted will be exploring the theme of audience development. From the beginning stages to keeping an already enthusiastic audience engaged, we’ll be sharing success stories, interviewing experts and providing advice on the many different facets of audience development. So, as we begin let’s discuss the basics.
What is an Audience?
An audience is who you’re communicating with through every medium; they’re the spectators watching in the bleachers, metaphorically speaking. More importantly for businesses, an audience is a group of potential clients and customers. An audience isn’t only helpful from a potential sales standpoint though, they also can help a brand immensely if the relationship is positively mutual. An engaged and enthusiastic audience can become a brand’s biggest advocate.
What is Audience Development?
Audience development is very much a buzz phrase in the content marketing and media space at the moment, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t take it seriously or think it will soon be a thing of the past. The Arts Council of England recently developed an official definition for it: “The term Audience Development describes activity which is undertaken specifically to meet the needs of existing and potential audiences and to help arts [and cultural] organisations to develop on-going relationships with audiences. It can include aspects of marketing, commissioning, programming, education, customer care and distribution.”
What’s the Difference Between Audience Development & Audience Engagement?
Not only is audience development an integral part of content strategy, but so is audience engagement. But what exactly is the difference? Audience development happens before audience engagement. If you have nobody to engage with, you have no audience. Both should be ongoing, but development organically happens before the engagement. Audience development is what you do to find your audience, audience engagement is how you interact once you find them.
How Do You Find Your Audience?
Fortunately, in today’s digital age finding an audience is a lot easier than it used to be. Through real-time commenting and social media, writers, marketers and content producers have better insight into who they’re communicating with than ever before. A few general practices to follow include:
1. Listen to who’s commenting on your blog , social media and use keyword research to find what people are interested in.
2. Surveys. It never hurts to just straight out ask your potential audience who they are and what they want.
3. Social media. Leverage it to learn about the interests of who you’re speaking to.
We’ll go into this deeper this month as we continue to discuss audience development, but those are just a few general practices to keep in mind as you focus on reaching your audience.
If you have a story (successful or unsuccessful) about finding an audience, share it in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what’s worked and what hasn’t.