Welcome to the second lesson in our Video Basics series. Your audience are the most important consideration when creating video, and in this lesson you’ll learn how to really get to know them.
1. What do you know about your target audience so far? What kind of lives do they live? What problems so they face? What makes them happy?
2. Can your audience naturally be split into a few sub-groups, or personas? Think about ways you could group viewers to create more specific content for them — e.g. by job role or experience. If you have existing marketing personas, ask yourself if they still apply when it comes to video content or if certain personas may need to be consolidated, divided or altered.
3. How would you like to do further research into your target audience? This could be through interviews, surveys or by speaking to existing customers. If you can, build a simple plan for when and how these tasks will be achieved.
4. Can you uncover an insight into your audience that you haven’t considered before? Take all the information you have about a persona or your average viewer, and think about what you can extrapolate: is there anything you can uncover about why they act as they do?
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Great video content isn’t about you: it’s about your audience.
Your content is never going to be engaging if it’s on a topic your audience doesn’t care about. I’m going to show you why audience understanding is so important for video, and the 3 steps to getting it right.
Imagine you’re at a party.
You start chatting to someone and they begin to tell you about their favourite movies, how their job’s going, and stories from their childhood.
At first it’s endearing, but very quickly it becomes boring.
You try to get involved in the conversation, but they keep cutting you off and are clearly more interested in talking about themselves. Eventually you get fed up and walk away.
That’s what you don’t want your video content to be like.
Your videos should be wonderful party guests — directing the conversation towards the interests of others. They should speak to the needs, wants and challenges of your target audience.
But to appeal to your audience, you need to understand them first.
Great content starts with basic research and identification of who you’re talking to.
If you use ideal buyers or marketing personas, they’re a great place to kick off. If you’re not familiar with the term, a persona is a fictional description of an average person in your audience to help you target your marketing more precisely.
When creating personas the easiest place to start is demographic data like age, gender, marital status, job role, and education. This is information you can usually get online from surveys and reports. But asking your customers and leads to fill in your own survey with this kind of questioning is also a great idea.
Here’s an example. Say you’re a B2B data firm.
You've several different buyer personas, but we’re going to focus on one: Chris the CIO.
He’s a 50 year old man who has been working for a large high street retailer for 5 years. He’s married and has 2 kids.
You’ll probably have several different personas for several different segments of your target audience. For example, you might work with IT managers as well as CIOs.
Bear in mind that your personas aren’t meant to represent every single person in your audience. They’re a blend of the most common traits of each audience segment, so you can communicate in a way that resonates with your ideal buyers.
Once you have your basic demographic information, you need to enrich your research. This means digging into your audience’s dreams, desires, and problems.
Here you need to actually talk to your audience. Conduct interviews. Take your clients out to lunch. Ask them about their biggest concerns, their most ambitious goals, and what makes them happy.
Keep a record of their responses, because your audience’s natural language is gold dust for using in video scripts — and across all your marketing collateral for that matter.
In our example, you might discover that Chris the CIO feels overwhelmed by the amount of information, tools and potential strategies available to him. He wants to be an innovator known for bold decisions, but worries that he’ll jump on the wrong bandwagon.
This is the real meat of our audience understanding.
It’s hard to uncover this kind of information, but it leads to video that’s ten times more powerfulthan without.
The result is content that speaks honestly to your audience. It frees you from guessing what they want to hear, and it saves you from creating video that simply doesn’t work.
The next step is the hardest. It’s time to uncover insights into your audience.
What are they? Insights are a deep understanding into human behaviour or attitude. It’s a logical extension of what you’ve discovered about your audience, which reveals something about why they feel or act a particular way.
In other words, an insight tells you what drives your audience.
So let’s turn back to Chris the CIO. From your research you might realise that what Chris really wants is solid data he can trust to inform his decisions. He wants guidance on which tools and strategies to pick. He wants the peace of mind that he’s doing the right thing.
With this deep understanding you can create video content that focuses on your audience’s specific pain points, and you can talk about how you’re able to solve them.
Insights like this give you the confidence to speak to your audience about topics and ideas you know will resonate with them.
It’s like coming to the party already knowing everyone’s favourite movie.
If you don’t feel you’re able to pull insights from your research, don’t worry. Just getting to know your audience in-depth will put your video content far ahead of most of the competition.
So that’s it. With this kind of understanding you’ll be able to connect with your audience beyond the superficial — through their needs, wants and challenges. From there you can engage your audience, affect them emotionally, and compel them to take action.