C2-02 Thoughts on Defining the Audience

Yesterday, I wrote some specs on what I thought existing visitors to the website were getting out of it. Then I wrote what I wanted to get out of life, my mission statement. Reader David commented that my mission statement was weak, and it could apply to anyone. I realized then that I’d written my internal mission statement, my own “am I on the right path” compass. So today, I shifted my thoughts more toward the external.

I realized that I don’t think mission statements are very effective when used as part of PR. They’re ALWAYS weaker, because they’re examples of TELLING over SHOWING. Telling is almost always BS until it’s backed up. What I need is more like a “framing” statement, something that helps people make sense of what they’re looking at. What I want to lead with is SHOWING things that are already appealing to an audience, and then give them a way to mentally compartmentalize it with a love they already have. Then, the next step is to feed the impulse to browse, participate, and buy. That’s engagement.

So I first looked at my list of people visiting the site already, and then started to build between what people liked versus what I liked. I’m part of the audience too, ya know, and it’s the intersection between me and visitors that will create the most satisfying connection. But then there’s the intersection between what I do (as opposed to “me”) and what people want (a solution, not a new buddy) that is also an opportunity; it’s those people who represent a market for goods.

  • People looking for solutions: Market for goods! Make it easy for them to find, assess, then select.

  • Subscribers who like what I’m building: They are looking for more than just goods that work. They want something that appeals to their inner sense of quality. Probably process or word-based people? People who learn in a particular way? They also need to be able to find-assess, select based on a DEEPER level than “this does this. download me!”

  • Subscribers who like to see HOW I’m building: They are interested in process, the story, a bit more of the in-depth. They may be looking for examples to follow, and they recognize that this site has something they want to know more about. The HOW is part of my writing and presentation. It’s implicit. Does this need to be made more explicit?

  • Subscribers who like to read what I’m THINKING: Process-oriented, empathic, compassionate people? Some people have said that what I write is what is in their head, given shape in the form of words. Also implicit in what I do.

  • People who check in occasionally: They have come, or used to come, because of something I’ve done that they found interesting. I’ve been filed into a category of, “that guy who”, but it’s not really close enough to their everyday existence to come visit. Positive thoughts toward my work and website, but not relevant to their life in general. Curiosity sometimes.

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p>From the above, I see that there’s a few windows and some implicit attributes of my so-called brand experience:

  • collections of tools, processes, thoughts – These are locations on the website
  • attributes of how, process, thinking deeply – These are common attributes of everything in the collection, and part of the appeal I think. Not for everyone, but for many.

Next there’s MY VALUES, the reason I want to get out of bed in the morning. How do I reframe this for people?

The easy first pass is to reverse:

  • People who want to succeed through excellence, originality, and putting things in the world.
  • People who have strong values and wish their work to reflect them. The above statement are my values.
  • People who like optimism, enthusiasm, and are open to connect with like-minded people.
  • People who like “explore, learn, build, share” and the related “seek inspiration, develop mastery, create opportunity”
  • People who appreciate good knowledge, or the intent to spread it
  • People who seek creative independence like myself

And that’s how far I got in 15 minutes. It took another 18 minutes to rewrite it into a blog post.


About this Article Series

This series is about improving my website, thinking about it for 15 minutes a day first-thing in the morning. You can see the raw 15-minute text here. These posts are collected on The March 2013 Challenge Page.