Who is your target audience?

Funny, how easy it is to get into reader/researcher mode on other people’s media. “Who is the target audience?” is an easy question to ask. Usually the answer is written all over a text. You use the answer (and the steps to get to that answer) to interrogate the text. That’s freshman 101 type stuff.

So I’m not sure whether it’s rhetorical when we at Cross-Conference were asked that. I’m not sure what it says when I heard the question and blanked. A writer must know the answer to that, because it does inform the text. But within a split second, I was thinking, “Isn’t it obvious? Our audience is women’s soccer fans.”

No, that answer is too obvious, and too easy.

For the first six or seven months, we didn’t have a “target” audience. We had an ethereal audience that was maybe, sometimes, when we were looking the other way, sneaking looks at us. At our most cynical, we had no audience. So instead of shooting for “them” or “no one,” I looked at Joan, myself, and my immediate friends and asked what we would like to read, hear, or talk about. When a friend said, “It’s a good podcast, but it needs more snark,” we listened. When we got a message on twitter that we’re hard on the WNBA… well, it probably won’t make the final cut of the upcoming podcast, but I did reference Anne Donovan when talking about WPS coaching.

I think sometimes we are very clearly just talking into the void for anyone to hear. We expect our audience to be other fans, not current players, former players, journalists, media folks, or team/school/league staff. Not that we would discourage these people from following us, but it’s always a surprise to hear from insiders. And we probably appeal to a particular type of fan–because Cross-Conference isn’t the place to go for stats and summary or breaking news. We don’t pursue interviews with the current hot topic.

Our target audience loves women’s soccer, certainly. Our target audience is prone to skepticism and dissatisfaction and probably has a dry sense of humor. Our target audience likes long walks on the beach but would never admit to that out loud except when drunk. Let’s face it: Cross-Conference is run by a couple of twenty-something former grad students who enjoy indie music and intelligent, witty discussion. And it shows.

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One Response to Who is your target audience?

  1. WoSo95 says:

    I’ve gnawed that bone myself recently. I’ve flirted with starting a blog or tumblr for a while, but always get stuck on “why?”. What’s the point? Am I doing it for someone, for some thing, or just to get it out of my head? Do I have to pick a topic, or will I lose interest without that focus? I’m still gnawing.

    I think one reason why I like CCC blog and podcast is because you don’t seem to aiming for a particular audience. I know, that sounds terribly hipster (I discovered you! You’re mine!), but it’s the essence of blogging: unless you’re hoping for sponsorship or inside access, you can just say whatever tickles you. You can be a jerk, or reveal embarrassing affections, or whatever. If you lose part of your audience with a particular post, you probably gained some new fans as well.

    This is so not a criticism of any other women’s soccer blog or news site; I like a lot of them, but I like them because they’re found their own niche or voice. We don’t need another official press release repeater, but maybe no one else will ask Hope Solo “why?”, or take a look at the WCC without it having to share time with the ACC and the Pac-10.

    Who else is going to do that?

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