Knowing your audience

Targeting different audiences

Most of us have more than one audience to consider. Some may take more time and attention than others. Different audiences will each have their traditional approaches and ‘cultures’ which affect how they communicate and the tools they use.

How well do you know your audiences? Do you know the best way to engage with them? Are you dealing with individuals, small groups, national or international audiences? If you have several stakeholders, you may have to tailor your messages in different ways to suit them.

Funders, in particular, can have very specific requirements in how you present your story to them. You may need to match your activities to their priority areas and offer facts and figures to illustrate what you are saying.

What methods your audiences prefer

Some audiences may respond to more visual representation while others may prefer written content. Some members of your community may not be very technologically skilled and might prefer content presented in more traditional print methods.

Engaging and interacting with your audiences can be made easier by technology – whether it’s online polls and surveys, social media such as Twitter or Facebook, making good use of a website, email marketing campaigns or discussion forums. These can all enhance traditional methods such as meetings, focus groups and conferences. It can be challenging working out which methods will be the most cost-effective.

Successful relationship management is crucial and can only be effective when you know your audience and understand their culture, languages, and changing needs.

“You have to respect your audience. Without them, you’re essentially standing alone, singing to yourself.”
― K.D.Lang