Introduction to Journalism

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Find your audience

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Find your audience

If you are publishing a blog, website or newsletter, it’s really important to be clear about who your audience are.

Why is it important to know your audience?

  1. They are the reason for publishing
  2. The  more you know about your audience, the more you give them what they want. Keep them happy, they will keep coming back.
  3. If you write for everyone – you can end up speaking to no-one.
  4. Build a community and build loyalty. Loyalty means your audience are more likely to back your cause, buy your product or simply communicate with you.

What do you want to achieve with your publication or blog?

There are many reasons to launch a blog or publication. It could be one or some of these reasons…

  • Educate and inform
  • Communicate with people you can’t meet physically
  • Reach a larger audience than you have at the moment
  • Get people to take action
  • Launch a campaign
  • Raise awareness
  • Create a community
  • Inform the general public about your organisation
  • Draw together an existing group so they can communicate online
  • Share information among people who share your interests.
  • Spread the word of one message
  • Provide news service for all residents or some resident
  • Communicate with a hard-to-reach community
  • Reach the media
  • Build a group or individual identity
  • Provide specialist information or data
  • Support a conversation around an issue, area, common interest
  • Influence people in power

What do you want to achieve with your publication?

Do you know your users or readers?

Are they:

Friends and family

People who share your passion or interests

Local people or from all around the world

Members of your organisation

Supporters of your cause

First time visitors or casual readers

Press – looking for stories

Opponents and targets of your campaign

Decision makers – who can influence policy

People you know or those you’ll never meet

Here’s a exercise to help you find your target audience. Imagine a reader, give them a name. Then imagine what their life is like by creating the details in their life.

  1. Age?
  2. Gender?
  3. Location? Where do they live?
  4. Financial status? Are they rich or poor?
  5. Politics. Who would they vote for?
  6. Interests. What are their hobbies and passions?
  7. Education. Did they leave school at 16 or go to University? Public school or local comp?
  8. Race? Do they have a loyalty to their country of birth, an ethnic group or race?
  9. Class? Are they working class or a toff?
  10. Religion? Do they practise a religion? Are they anti-religion?
  11. Culture – what is their cultural background?
  12.  Language. Is English their first language?
  13.  Prejudices.  Who do they dislike? What or who makes them secretly angry? What drives them up the wall?
  14. What media gives them their news? What papers do they read? What programmes do they watch on TV? What radio stations do they choose?
  15. Who do they admire?
  16. What are their core values?

When you have created one ‘reader’ , create some more.

What do they think of you and your publication?

Think about their attitudes to your issue or subject matter. Are they an involved, active group? Are they disaffected? Is there a controversy which is dividing people?

Do they actively want what you are offering or do you have to take it to them? Do they know you exist? How will they get to your site? Where will they find your newsletter?

What else is competing for their time? What other pressures in their life could stop them engaging with you?

Choose your media to reach your audience.

Once you have a stronger idea of who will read your work. Think about the best way to reach them.

What form of media do your audience use the most? Do they read local papers and prefer the printed word? Do they email and read the web? Are they Tweeting or using Facebook?

Are there language problems? Technology issues? Will everyone have access to the internet? Broadband?

Do they all have computers at home? Is it easy for them to find one to use?

Are they more likely to view things on their mobile phones?

Do they all live in one area?  Can you deliver a newsletter to readers? Is there a central meeting place? Would you have to post them? Is there a place to leave your printed newsletter?

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