How Do You Get To Know Your Audience The Best?

Posted on July 21, 2014
By Jeanne

Audience, Customers, Consumers, Readers.  No matter what "label" you put on them, they are the people you are thinking about when you are writing your content whether it's being published on a website, blog, in email or even somewhere else on the web.  They are real people with varying interests, knowledge, time, needs, desires and so much more.

Many bloggers, Brands and Publishers go to great lengths to understand the people they write content for.  And there is so much data available today. As you well know, we are in the age of "Big Data".  Back in the early days of the internet (which was really not that long ago at all), the promise of "Big Data" was there but not yet at our fingertips and we saw it as the "holy grail" from a marketing perspective.  And what's so great about all this data is that it can translate into insight.  Insight is what gives us the ability to understand and ultimately act on all that data.

I speak to a lot of brands and publishers and everyone is tackling the "knowing your audience" challenge in different ways.  There are companies that provide data on trending topics, click streams, sites visited, social media trends. There's web metrics, geographic data, demographic and psychographic data.  There's just a ton of data.

And what I continually hear from these companies that are using all this data is that even with all of this data they still don't understand their audiences the way the need and want to understand them, they are craving true insight.  That knowing what topics they read this morning, what sites they came from, what they posted on twitter, whether they male or female, or even what part of the world they live in does not necessarily translate into deep insight, insight that tells what kind of content will really meet the needs of their audiences and resonate with them.

This is a significant challenge.  Most content producers get it right (meaning that real people read and take some sort of action after reading their content) less than half the time ("You Won't Finish This Article").  One of my high level editorial friends (who will remain anonymous) told me that only about 20% of their content gets read!  Yet there is tons and tons of research that show that people are consuming more digital content than ever ("Online time now exceeds offline media consumption globally"). They just really want great content that meets their specific needs.

We humans have a voracious appetite for information and entertainment.  Though with that comes a finely tuned "BS" meter which means we will pass by any piece of content that is not delivering a worthwhile experience whether it's boring and uninspiring (i.e. lacks emotion and depth), too simple or complex for us to read, is too repetitive, is too short, too long, has broken or slow links etc.  And we won't even read it at all, we'll just skip right by, if we aren't excited by the title!  This all makes the author's job quite difficult even with all the amazing amounts of data available.  You just can't get it right every single time.  Right?

Not quite!  We at Atomic Reach were facing the same exact challenge.  It made us crazy when we had two articles that were quite similar to us and one performed really well and got tons of people to read it and the other fell completely flat.  So we've spent two years doing research and trying to understand why real people read (or don't read) digital content.  And we've uncovered 20 different elements (or what we call measures) that impact whether or not someone is going to actually read your article (including this one!).

Our Audience Insights platform is the first step in turning data into actionable insight.  It's all about why real people will read or not read your content.  And we take it one step further, we provide the authors and editors with a tool that gives you the ability to edit your content based on all that great insight before you hit publish.  We help you get it right in a more predictable and consistent way.  Why does that matter?  It matters because you will build bigger and more connected audiences and better relationships with them by giving them what they want - great content that meets their needs.  Feel free to reach out if you want to learn more.

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