Why you really need to know your audienceMay 24, 2022
Why it is so important to know your audience
Know your audience. Know. Your. Audience. You really, need to get to know your audience.
If you’re a content creator, communications professional, marketer or filmmaker, you have almost certainly heard this over, and over. It might even be the mantra you chant to yourself each morning at sunrise. Or the calming words you recite when you’re struggling to fall asleep on a Tuesday night.
Ok, maybe that’s just me… but I’m sure you consider it frequently…perhaps to the point that its started to lose it’s meaning?
Almost every marketing platform out there mentions something about “knowing your audience” on a blog or a landing page or a social media tile. One quick Google of the term generates an eye watering 6,400,000,000 results. Yikes!
I’m even guilty of banging on about it myself on more than one occasion (in truth, I wrote an entire course – more on that later). But why do you need to know your audience? That’s the part that often gets left unexplained.
And it’s what I’m drilling down on it in this post. Because in my opinion, once you know your audience, it will give you a better dopamine hit than a block of your favourite chocolate. Mmm chocolate..
You may have spied a previous article from me on reaching your audience, but I thought it might be worthwhile to take a step back now, so you could understand why it’s so important to know who you’re trying to talk to in the first place.
At a fundamental level, it’s because if you don’t know your audience, you won’t reach them. And if your content doesn’t reach people, you will not become a successful content creator.
Let’s go a bit deeper.
Knowing your audience will help you make better videos
It’s as simple as that.
- Blog ends -
Don’t worry – I’m kidding. I could honestly talk about the importance of knowing your audience underwater.
If you know who your audience are, you’ll be able to figure out both how to talk to them, think tone, use of lingo etc – and what about. And if you can do that, your videos are more likely to be watched all the way to the end. Because your audience will click away if you don’t capture their attention from the get-go. Trust me!
The average human attention span is about 8 seconds long (yes, we are very fickle folk), which leaves you with about 5 or 6 seconds to convince them to keep watching.
So how do yo keep your audience engaged in your content? For one, you need to be relatable. And that means shifting the way you frame your message to suit the intended crowd.
Let’s say you’re making a video to share with a group of high school kids. But everyone you’ve approached to feature on camera is middle aged or older. Now that’s not necessarily a red flag – but you need to consider, is your audience (teenagers) going to take on a message from someone from a different generation. Perhaps, but you need to do a little research before you roll camera so that your on-screen talent is relatable for teenagers.
If you have experience working in corporate PR or advertising, the word ‘avatar’ is likely coming to mind right now. But I’m about to say something a little controversial ….
Ditch the avatar!
In the marketing crowd, knowing your audience might be all about avatars and demographics.
Take Carpenter Craig for example. Craig is a father of three in his late-forties. He lives in rural New South Wales with his wife and kids, runs his own carpentry business and drives a 2017 Ford Ranger.
If you want to make a video for Craig, how would you do it?
Honestly, I would be right at the beginning with just this information. This would just be a starting point for the research. And I’ve been running my own video communications agency for 12 years and have a pretty good understanding on demographics.
Because even though I have this information about Craig, it’s all very surface level. I don’t know anything about his passions or opinions or world view. What motivates him? What does he actually care about? Why would he click play on my video?
The answer to those questions is way more interesting to me, which is why I steer clear of the avatar or buyer persona when I’m trying to get to know my audience. You need to remember that the people watching your videos are living, breathing human beings with thoughts and frustrations. They have a nuanced view of the world, a wide range of hobbies and interests and they can’t just be categorised by their age, gender identity or marital status.
Yes, it’s just as hard as it sounds. But over the years, I’ve developed a system that I use time and again to know my audience inside out – the ideal audience plan works no matter what type of video I’m making.
While the projects I’ve worked on have a common goal - to make an impact – the subject matter has differed wildly. And so to have the audiences.
The films I’ve produced like Conquering Cancer, Take Heart and Life Before Death have reached millions, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and influenced policy makers. And it’s because I always follow a plan to help me know who the audience is and make content that’s relevant to them.
Now seems like the right time to come back to that course I mentioned at the top of this post.
Because I’ve actually packaged that system up into an easy-to-follow online course that you can start today! It’s called Define Your Ideal Audience and it’s for every marketer, content creator and filmmaker who wants to climb inside the head of their audience and create videos connect.
If you’re still here then I’m pretty sure that’s you!
Because you want your audience to watch your video and think ‘ah, this was made for me’
And that means you need to create relatable and relevant content. A first step in achieving this is in the tone of your content. Do you know how knowledgeable your audience is on the topic. Will they know ‘in’ language and terms, also known as ‘buzz words’. If not, stay clear of any technical terms. Remove buzzwords from the script. Kill your jargon. You need to stick to turns of phrase that your audience is familiar with and might use in their own everyday speech.
In fact, you could probably pluck the words right of their mouths and use it in your messaging!
But the only way you can do that is by knowing them deeply.
You also can’t overlook your own point of view. Because if you don’t have a a unique positioning or delivery, you’ll end up including mediocre messaging that isn’t offering a fresh perspective in your video. And that can cause your viewers switch off.
It’s ok to go your own way and have a new take on something. The goal isn’t to create a video that’s perfect or that your audience 100% agrees with. Because you do want your video to help your audience see things in a new light, consider where you’re coming from and how your perspective might help them. Or have that ‘a-ha! I didn’t think of that.’ moment.
If you can identify who your audience is before you begin, you can create content that resonates with them, speak in a tone that they can connect with. And share your point of view in a way that will have them considering your ideas, not clicking away.
I created the Moonshine Communications Academy to show people just like you how to use video as a tool to further your campaigns or empower your audiences to take acton towards some kind of social good or business goal.
Have you been dreaming about making a video but you don’t really know where to begin?
Perhaps you’re a step ahead. You might already have a video – now you’re trying to find a place for it in the word. Or maybe you saw red when I snubbed the age-old avatar tactic and want to come to me with your thesis on why it’s still a useful tool.
If you’d like to get in touch, send me an email at [email protected]
Or to join me in the Define Your Ideal Audience course, head here
You can also find me and the co-founder of Moonshine Communications Academy, Mike Hill, over on YouTube, We’ve created a series called Moonshine Moonshot to help content creators like you make better videos. New episodes every Tuesday. Subscribe now!
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