I spent the weekend overdosing on TED talks and came away inspired to contribute an idea worth spreading myself. Recently I’ve been focusing on ways to develop a relevant content strategy and one piece of the puzzle is audience awareness–obviously. But knowing your audience and effectively engaging with them are two entirely separate things. So, my big idea was the illustration you’ll find below which is meant to help people better understand how to effectively target specific audiences.
Before getting too deep, take note of this syllogistic paragraph as it puts everything into perspective for you: Be more relevant and your target audience will spend more time with your brand. The more time people spend with your brand the more engaged they become. Exposure and engagement build trust. Trust is brand currency. Therefore, relevance affects trust levels. The more people trust you, the more likely they are to buy into your message.
This chart turns that paragraph into an actual graph:
Audience Awareness Factors
People (represented here by arrows) fit into groups aka audiences. When dealing with these groups of people, there are all these different factors that determine what person fits into what audience. Things like:
There are probably many more, but these are depicted in the chart above as the gray pyramid shape in the top of the circle. When you are designing a solution for reaching your target market you must account for these factors. They are targets to be aimed at. The more audience awareness factors you hit, the better your changes of striking a bullseye. If you are really firing on all cylinders, your content strategy will be represented by the perfectly vertical arrow labeled 8. Obviously, the more targets you git, the better.
Brand Exposure and Trust
The bottom half of the circle represents time (exposure) a person spends with your brand AND the trust they build up as a result. They go hand in hand in my estimation. You’ll notice that some arrows bisecting the bottom half spend more time in certain colored areas (red=low, blue=medium, green=high) than others. More exposure means more trust. It’s as simple as that. It’s one reason why you are more likely to take your friend’s “word for it” than a strangers. It is why Facebook and myriad brands want you to make product recommendations and endorsements for your friends to see.
Relevancy vs Engagement
This is the good stuff where everything comes together. The “angle of relevancy” correlates directly to a person’s level of engagement. This means that depending on the angle of approach you take to reach your audience you will hit a number of different audience awareness factors. The more the merrier. Shoot straight and you’ll hit as many as possible. Come in from a side angle and you may only hit 2 or 3.
To get the best possible response from your audience, it will be important to try to hit at least HALF of the identifiable audience awareness targets. But don’t worry if you don’t achieve this on your very first attempt. Why? Each interaction with your brand, even on a lower level, will function as an advertisement. It’s a relationship building exercise. When it comes time for them to make a purchasing decision, for example, who are they going to go with? A brand they are familiar with or a “cold caller” so to speak?
Here’s what you need to do to to become relevant to your target audience and build a long-term relationship built on trust and engagement:
- Identify key targets (expectations, interests, habits, style, etc.) you can aim for in order to reach your ideal audience.
- Based on these attributes, create content that will “fire on all cylinders.”
- Don’t stop there. Continue tweaking your strategy by adding new targets as they become important.
- Pursue a relationship of trust with your customers. It will pay off–big time.
What do you think? Do you have anything to add?