How to find your target audience in 4 easy steps
How to find your target audience in 4 easy steps
One of the reasons creators struggle to grow their audience is that they’re trying to make their content appealing to everyone. But people have trouble connecting to content and ultimately to the creator of that content, when it’s not clear that they are the intended audience. Ahead, I’m going to walk you through four steps to help you discover who your audience is so you can make content that will connect with them and make it easier to grow your audience.
Step one: Let’s talk about you
One of the best places to start when defining your audience is thinking about who you are.
In many cases, the kind of person who is a good fit for your audience might share a lot of things in common with you.
To complete this step, write down the answers to the following questions:
1. What personal characteristics define you? These could be things like the stage of life you’re in, hobbies, where you live, etc. Later in the video we’re going to be jotting down many of these things to build what’s called a persona. More on that soon. For now, just write down as many things as you can that describe who you are.
2. What are some things about you that others are drawn to? We all have strengths or skills that make us unique, characteristics that attract certain types of people. For you, what are those traits and why are people drawn to them?
3. What kind of people do you easily connect with? This question focuses more on the types of people you feel you most get along with. Think of those in your life you feel you have an effortless connection with. What characteristics make it easy for you to connect with them?
Now that we’ve reflected on who we are, it’s time to shift our focus outward.
Step two: Study the audiences of other creators in your niche
While the previous step does shed some light on who our target audience is, it doesn’t illuminate the whole picture. To reveal more, we’re going to take a look at who makes up the audiences of creators who share content similar to ours.
Find a creator in your niche, maybe someone who shares some of your personal characteristics. Check out some of their posts that have lots of engagement, and click through to the profiles of people leaving comments, taking down notes about your observations. As you see more and more of that creator’s audience, are there any patterns or commonalities that stand out?
For example, you might notice that most of the commenters are in the same stage of life or are near the same part of the world.
Do this for a handful of different creators’ audiences and see if you find commonalities between separate audiences.
Now we’re going to take this same strategy to other places these audience members might hang out online.
Step three: Look at forums and communities within your niche
Another great place to find real people who represent an audience that might connect with your content is an online forum or community. While some forums and communities are led by other creators, many are organized by the audience members themselves which can provide a unique perspective into who those folks are.
Reddit is a great place to find conversations happening around your niche. For example, let’s say you’re interested in sharing content about cake decorating. There’s a subreddit for cake decorating with more than 130,000 members.
You can do something similar here and click through posts with lots of engagement. Then click on the profiles of the folks in the comments. This will allow you to see their posts and other types of content they interact with which can give you some clues about common characteristics of people in that forum.
In the last step we’re going to take everything we’ve collected and put it together in what’s called a persona.
Step four: Build a persona
A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal audience member based on your research and real data about who is in your existing audience.
This video is focused on helping creators who are just starting out, but if you do have an existing audience and your platform provides data about who your audience is, you can make that a part of this exercise.
In this step we are going to imagine a fictional audience member and try to describe them. With your notes from the previous steps handy, choose answers for the following questions that best fit who you believe is your ideal audience member based on what you’ve learned so far.
What is their age range or what stage of life are they in?
What kind of interests or hobbies do they have?
What kind of buying power do they have?
What language do they speak?
What part of the world are they from?
What kind of challenges or struggles do they have?
While answering these questions, it can be tempting to be vague. After all, you don’t want to exclude anyone. But try to be as specific as you can. The purpose of this exercise is not to keep you from connecting with a variety of people, but to help you communicate more clearly with the type of person who would make a great audience member.
Now, give your persona a name. I know that seems a little silly, but stick with me for a minute.
You don’t need to share this publicly. This is just for you to keep in mind as you make content in the future. Instead of making content for some ambiguous, anonymous group of people out there on the internet, you’re making content for Arthur, who’s middle aged, enjoys hiking, speaks French as a first language, and wishes they could travel more. Or Riley, who just graduated from college with a master’s degree in data science, lives in Brooklyn and wishes they could gain some culinary skills to dazzle their friends.
Having a specific, well-thought-out persona can bring more clarity to the type of language, style, and stories you bring to your content, which will ultimately make you more effective at building an audience.