“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”
Leonardo da Vinci
How can you expect to relate to an audience without first knowing your audience. You need to understand who your audience is and what is important to them to make them care about your story.
There are 3 questions you should always ask yourself before telling a story.
1.What Do You Actually Know About Your Audience?
It is surprising how much information you have about an audience before you do any research. This is especially true if you have dealt with them over a period of time.
If they are existing customers, review all the information they have shared with you overtime. Talk to your colleagues about the information they have got about your customers in their dealings with them. You will be surprised how much information you can collect about your audience when you encourage your coworkers to share their nonproprietary insights.
We often overlook the website data we have obtained over a period of time because we have not used it before. Review all the data you have relating to your audience and use it to gain fresh audience insights.
Finally look to your audience insights gained from your offline networking events, and any information that has been shared with you by experts in your field. Any real life insights gained can prove worthwhile in knowing your audience.
2.What Do You Want To Know About Your Audience?
Having established what you know about your audience you need to think about filling the gaps, those valuable insights about your audience that will help you tell better stories.
You need to be able to concentrate your scarce resources in collecting information that will have the biggest impact on your storytelling. Think about getting information on what really bothers and annoys your customers. Think about those areas that most impact their daily lives on an emotional basis, the problems they have that really annoy them. This is the type of information that makes your stories matter.
We all want a sense of belonging to a network that matters to us. You need to be able to understand what type of network your audience want to belong to. Once you have this information you can tell stories that help build your own network following. Knowing your audience is always the first step to building this network.
3.How Do You Find Out More About Your Audience?
Once you know what you need to learn about your audience you need to start gathering that information. Knowing you audience will require effort and resources. The first three areas I always review first are
Getting audience information does not always mean reinventing the wheel. One of the most obvious places to look for audience information is to analyze what your competitors are doing. Looking at what your competitors are doing will show you what is working for your audience and more importantly what does not work.
If you want to know what anyone is thinking these days, all you need to do is analyze his or her social media output. People seem to share every conceivable fact or opinion they have about online. If you know where to look you can get a surprising amount of information to help you get great audience insights.
There are some great survey tools available online. If you think carefully about your questions you can get some valuable audience insights.
The End Game Always Starts With Knowing Your Audience
“The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.”
Knowing your audience only becomes important if you use this information well. You can have most impressive audience information available which becomes totally useless unless you use it. When you go to the trouble of getting unique audience insights, you need to use them. These insights must be used to frame your storytelling. They show you where you need to emotionally connect with your customers. Storytelling that is based on the audience insights gained will help you tell that story that your audience really relates to.