Do you know who is watching your content?

The most important thing to know when you are communicating online is who is watching.

Jesus did not communicate the same way to everyone He came in contact with. When He was with His disciples, His communication was different to when He was preaching to a large crowd. It was also different when speaking to the “authorities” – the Pharisees and Sadducees, the High Priest, Pilot etc – Jesus spoke to them all in different ways. We too know that when we communicate in everyday life we speak in a different way to our family as opposed to friends, work colleagues or general acquaintances.

Why then, as a general rule, do we communicate the same way online, irrespective of who is watching, and expect everyone to “get” what we are saying?

One of the most important questions you need to answer then when it comes to reaching people through media is WHO you want to reach. Without knowing who you want to reach, it is impossible to measure the effectiveness of your media outreach. This means you may well be spending money and time on things or content that don’t match your goals.

As you will see from the list, it is clear that the only way you will know which of these categories are watching your content is by undertaking some research. Knowing who is watching your content online is easier than trying to find out who watches a more traditional television broadcast, but are you using the tools you have available to measure and track your audience?

If we don’t know WHO is watching, we cannot develop an effective way to communicate to them as individuals. I am thus surprised that “audience research” isn’t a major priority for those seeking to grow their online presence.  One quick caveat here, if your priority is replacing your church gathering with an online service then this isn’t as important as for those seeking to grow their audience and their online impact. Even so, I would still encourage you to delve into finding out who your audience is, you may find it surprising.

So, how can you research who is watching?

Our upcoming e-course will go into more depth on this and provide some resources too, but here are some basic things that you can do right now:

  • Use tools like Facebook or YouTube “chat” to ask questions that will help you understand your audience better.
  • Track your metrics on the platforms you stream on – even to the extent of looking at when people turn off during a broadcast – then you can know what content doesn’t resonate with your audience (it can be sobering when you delve into these metrics).
  • Ask your audience for feedback (and make it easy for them to give it to you). Questions like where are they watching from, are they a regular viewer and others can help you build an idea of who your audience is.
  • Keep track of the people who interact with you, contact you etc and start creating audience profiles based on this data. Go back through the interactions on your broadcasts to build a greater understanding of your audience and what they are saying.
  • Work out some way to capture more detailed audience data – offer an incentive for people to connect with you and then look at the data that gives you.
  • ALSO, don’t assume you know your audience without carrying out proper research.

Finding out detailed data on your audience should become part of your routine as a content provider. Then you can utilise the data and information to tailor your content towards your audience(s) – the reason I pluralise this is that you may well need to consider creating or re-purposing your content to be more appropriate for other audiences – it may well mean you completely relook at how you are providing content, where and to whom.

Getting the answers to these questions is vital - if you want to know why, then read this blog on "Do you know who holds the remote control".

Yet, the starting point must be finding out who is watching, Who is watching your content, do you know?

Categories: audience, Broadcasting, Platforms, production, Strategy

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