“Who’s it for?” asked my Editor.
She wasn’t asking whether my story was for her or another editor. She was really asking: “Who are you writing it for?”
I’d like to say “everyone”, but I can’t. Trying to write a story for everyone is like trying to fit the entire world into your pocket. It’s an impossible task, simply because everyone wants different things.
But we can create content for specific groups of people – lawyers fresh from the Bar, or fash hags who must have the latest fashion trend, or even stay-at-home dads – as they consume similar content in similar ways. Identifying these groups isn’t that hard. It’s just a matter of asking the right questions and using the right sources.
Questions before You Start
These demographic-type questions will give you an idea of what you’ll need to find out.
- Who is your target audience?
- Where is your target audience located?
- What is the age range and median age?
- Is the group primarily male or female?
- What do they do for a living?
- What level of education do they have?
- How do they spend their extra cash?
- Are they married, single, or divorced?
- Do they have children? What ages?
- What kind of lifestyle do they lead?
- What are their attitudes and beliefs?
- Are they urban dwellers or suburbanites?
- What are their special interests or hobbies?
- What is their income range?
You’ll also want to include questions specific to your audience. E.g. If I’m creating a website to help stay at home dads, I’ll want to know, “What’s your biggest problem at home?”
Sources for Your Research
I use SingStats for economy and population statistics on Singapore. For niches, you should use trade publications or PR firms (e.g. Edelman’s Trust Barometer). You could conduct surveys at places where your target audience are most likely to be at.
So for my stay at home dads example, I’d talk to support groups for dads and look at family-related statistics. Also, I might look for information from childcare industries.
Describe Your Audience
“Stay at home dads who are looking to earn extra income” is a start. To get a fuller image, flesh it out with your research data. Put in as much information as you can into the Audience Profile. The more it has, the easier it is to create content for.
So our audience is…
Stay at home dads aged between 35 to 45 years with 2 kids. They comprise of 20% of all couples. They stay in 3-room apartments, have no fixed income, and spend most of their time looking after the kids and home. Their kids are just starting school.
These dads have some sort of professional background. They were laid off because of the recession. They have become quite conscientious on how they spend money and look for good deals. They are quite internet-savvy and do most of their purchases online.
They do not like to be known as stay at home dads. They believe that it is a stigma…
This profile is not set in stone. After all, people and trends evolve with time. Likewise, periodically refresh and update your profile with newer findings.
A day, a tip | 100 days, 100 useful content tips
Credits: Featured image from stijnbokhove