What comes first – the content or the audience?Jun 14, 2022
What comes first – the content or the audience?
Should you create content for your audience, or find an audience for your content?
This dilemma feels a lot like the chicken or egg predicament that harks back to ancient times. And it seems to baffle content creators just as much as the latter torments scientists!
So today I’ve decided to unpack this little conundrum …starting with the answer (well, what my answer is at least).
Mike Hill – my co-host on the Moonshine Moonshot series – and I disagree on the whole content-before-audience or audience-before-content debate.
In Mike’s words: “You really need to find an audience for your content, rather than the other way around.”
But in my opinion? Your content has to come first.
I know this might come as a bit of shock – considering how much I carry on about knowing your audience – but if you try too hard to create content specifically for your audience, you’ll just end up losing your point of view. And your point of view is really important.
Sure, you need to understand who you’re talking to, and craft content that they can relate to, but that content still has to reflect you as the creator.
Let me explain my thinking.
There’s no point creating content if it’s not meaningful to you
As a business owner, marketing professional, filmmaker or communications manager, the content you put out into the world needs to showcase your value, Your offering. Your perspective. See where I’m going with this? The key word is your.
Yes, that might sound a bit navel-gazey. But I’m assuming you have something to say –otherwise why would you be thinking about creating content in the first place?
Of course you still need your content to appeal to your audience. It needs to answer their questions. Or solve their problems. Or make them consider things in a new light. Maybe it will just make them smile on their Wednesday night commute home from work. Whatever you’re shooting for is fine.
But (and I know I sound like I’m contradicting myself a little here), just be sure to tap into what your audience cares about before going full steam ahead with your content creation. Ask yourself what will interest or engage them – and craft your content accordingly.
The trick is to think about what you care about, discover what your audience cares about and pinpoint where the two intersect. And look! I created this fancy Venn diagram to illustrate what I mean (ok. It’s not that fancy but I don’t think you’re here for my design skills).
Your content should come first – just be sure to analyse it
It’s certainly true that every aspect of creating content comes back to understanding who your target audience is and what will light their eyes up. But it’s not always easy to know from the get-go. Sometimes you have to trial different types of content, see what your audience is responding to and iterate from there.
And that’s where analytics tools can come to the rescue. No matter if you’re publishing a blog to your website, a video to YouTube, a few flashy images on Instagram or a lengthy caption to Facebook, you’ll be able to assess if your audience is lapping it up …or clicking away.
With intuitive tools like Facebook Insights, Google Analytics and YouTube Analytics, you can easily identify what type of content you audience is responding to. You can also learn more about who they are (at a surface level at least) as these data tools provide an overview of their age, geographical location, gender and broad interests.
But you can do some investigative work of your own too. Look at your social media following. The comments you’re receiving. Who’s sharing and liking your content? All of these insights will go a long way in helping you understand if the content you’re slogging over is resonating.
You might also want to take a look around you and see what your competitors are producing. Subscribe to their YouTube channel. Follow them on Twitter. Sign up to their newsletters. Even attend a seminar or conference they’re running if you want to!
Observe and learn from them but put your own spin on it. Remember, your unique point of view is what will set you apart from all the other content producers out there – you’ll feel much more satisfied as a creator when you think of it that way. Plus, it’s why your audience will be interested in your work!
It’s ok to experiment
When it comes to creating content, most people are just throwing things out there and seeing what sticks. And so should you.
So go on – experiment!
Play with different types of content or ways of expressing yourself. Yes, you may stumble but you might also stumble on an angle that has your audience hanging on your every word. How great would that be?
Still, I know it’s not always easy to identify who your audience is, particularly right at the very beginning when you don’t have any of the analytics or data insights that I mentioned earlier.
Which is why I created a course called Define Your Ideal Audience to give you a head start. If you’re serious about creating content people will climb over each other to see, it’s definitely something you should check out.
Join me now by clicking here.
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