Brittanie Chludzinski

Understanding your target audience: The key to long-term, strategic success

According to this week’s article, “A Roadmap for Digital Media Startups: The New Business Models for News Toolkit,” identifying your target audience begins with creating stories about your potential users.

Creative Commons. Flickr.

It’s the basic lesson we’ve learned in any communication or PR class: Use both demographic and psychographic information to build these various personas that will help influence your content creation and distribution. It’s always easier said than done. In fact, this article mentioned several target audience factors that had never crossed my mind before.

First off, I never considered identifying potential advertisers as part of your target audience. Researching and identifying the consumers who will be buying (or reading) your product is equally as important as identifying the pool of advertisers who are “aligned to create the experience that you are hoping to convey.” In order to create an effective content strategy that will work for your startup, it’s crucial to plan ahead in your business model by determining how you will generate revenue and ensuring that you have enough potential revenue in your specific market.

In regard to generating funds, I never realized how many revenue strategies existed outside of ad dollars until reading chapter two of this research, “A Roadmap for Digital Media Startups: An Overview of Successful Site Models.” According to this chapter, a publication’s unique target audience/market dictates whether they rely on advertising, events, sponsored content or membership programs (or a combination of all) to sufficiently support their sites.

Once you determine the consumers and advertisers you will be targeting, this dictates how you communicate your brand. While key messaging is important, launching and maintaining a successful startup stems from creating a consistent “user experience” through your logo, site design, products, social media presence etc.

When thinking about what will fulfill your target audiences’ wants and needs (in terms of content and user experience), this week’s article, “How to Define Your Target Market,” points out that having multiple niche audiences within your market is okay!

2588151774_1b2b7dcfcc_o.jpg For example, the video Target Market vs. Target Audience explains that an individual selling children’s books  will have to target various audiences including the parents, the grandparents and the children themselves. While utilizing distinct key messaging for each niche audience is effective, the article cautions that any target audience segmented too much may need to be reevaluated.

In addition to a content and business model strategy, a social media marketing strategy plays a key role in an organization’s success. Once you have your target audience identified, it’s easier to determine what platforms will be most effective. By engaging in research and making these communication decisions upfront, it will help publications determine the platforms that need to be embedded on their website in the future for example. By taking these extra steps, it opens up the opportunity for advertising directly on these distribution sites (like Twitter, Facebook etc.), thus fueling long term success in both revenue and communication efforts.

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