Audience architecture entails defining and identifying which outside groups and individuals align with the values and goals of your organization, and then build a community with and among them through actions and shared insights.
Getting Started with Audience Architecture
Be intentional about the voices and voices you want to engage and how and where you’ll create and share content with them. There are three important considerations to keep in mind:
- Sustaining influence
- Understanding your customers and their motivations.
- Building a community.
- Know your audience, (whether they are internal or external)
The first step to building a community is to define who you are targeting and how you are connecting with them. These audiences should include current employees, customers, stakeholders, the broader public, and media, including social media influencers, bloggers, and broadcasters. While determining your audience, first define your audience’s interests. Are they interested in your company’s particular industry or industry challenges?
Identifying Potential Partners
If you want to grow your audience, the time to begin identifying potential partners is now. At the very least, you’ll need to find some stakeholders who may already be interested in what you’re doing, and who want to see that continued growth in your organization.
They may already be subscribers, neighbors, competitors of your competitors, customers, or customers of customers of your customers, or, yes, customers of customers of customers…you get the idea. This is especially true for brands that want to attract a younger, more multicultural audience. The difficulty lies in creating an authentic connection that brings them closer to your organization than they’re already.
Value continues to be king, but relationships are what create a community. As you engage the community and build your relationships, be sure to deliver tangible value. This engagement can be easy or complex. But rather than following a prescribed approach, it’s best to begin by asking yourself and your partners: What relationships should I have? What conversations should I be having? How can I create value for these relationships? How do they want to get value from me? Once you have answers to these questions, you will be well on your way to engaging and creating value for both you and the community at large.
Converting to Community
Converting to community begins with defining who your audience is, and then which outside groups are likely to be interested in supporting your efforts. Focus on the actions and values of your audience, rather than attempting to estimate future revenue and therefore discount it, and you’ll develop a more engaged group of supporters. By doing so, you’ll build a community of people who help carry your work forward, not just a mere customer base. Existing customers, employees, business partners, neighbors, and even government officials are among your potential audiences. Of course, there is an understanding that you need to convert at least some of these individuals into fans and advocates who will go the extra mile to spread the word about your brand or partner with you in major projects.
This is just a short overview of my work in audience architecture.
How will you start experimenting and thinking about the communities supporting and surrounding your organization?