targeting your audience, not just any audience

I like coffee. A lot. I’ve worked at coffee shops throughout high school and college, and I’m generally sitting in one during the hours I’m not required to pour it. This morning I sat at my favorite one, read some blogs and observed the people around me. There’s a stack of newspapers, the University’s free daily issue, which more or less gets disheveled than read throughout the day. As people wait for their best friend in the morning, that cup commonly named Joe, they pick the paper up, flip through it, skim some articles and then place it down.

This gave me a realization. The realization of specialization.

The theme of this blog is to research the future, and honestly the present time, of the print industry. Print copies are made to reach the majority of an audience. They’re made to appeal to anyone walking by who come from different backgrounds and have different careers or lifestyles. Journalists have written in ways that any person can read an article and understand its content.

The expansion of news being on the Internet has brought the issue of people only reading what interests or concerns them. There’s nothing necessarily bad about this, but it definitely changes how the game is played. Rather than appealing to the audience, as journalists we must adapt to reporting for a target audience.

One of my favorite points made in the American Press Institute, was “One size fits no one.” That statement hit me in the head hard. I’ve attempted to start my own blog before, and I became discouraged. I wondered how people made a career out of it or simply got people to read it. Sure, there were probably a handful of reasons it wasn’t successful in the few months I wrote in it, but this was a big part of it. How are you going to get everyone reading your blog or your articles? The answer simply is that you won’t, and that you don’t want to. By attempting to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. Simple, true and very important. What brings people to read what you write is that you have an angle and a strategy that is different than a broad report on something or someone.

What was important for me to acknowledge is that this does not just include blogging. This includes all media that is now going virtual. There are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration while also keeping in mind a target audience. For example, the time of day is significantly important. People are accustomed to reading their straightforward news in the morning with their newspaper. Odds are, they might want to continue to start their day that way. Parenting articles might be best in the early afternoon, assuming parents might find a break during the day during a naptime. Literary articles or blogs might thrive in the evening. Readers are settling down after a day at work and at home, and they want to wind down with a review on a new bestseller.

Target audiences are now known more commonly as our “audience” now. To succeed, as journalists, we must specialize in our area of writing and provide something for them that will further their knowledge in a field that affects them in one-way or another.