Audience: Who Do We Make Content For?

As a SaaS company, we make content with two groups in mind. We refer to these groups in a number of ways, but here we’ll call them our “Subscribers” and our “Audience.”

Our Subscribers

Financial Advisors, Insurance Agents, Compliance Officers
  • These are the people that send out our content and use our products
  • Our content must please this audience before it gets to our secondary audience
  • We can predict this audience’s reaction to content via CAP polling

Our Audience

Our Subscribers’ Clients and Prospects
  • These are the visitors to a Financial Advisor’s or Insurance Agent’s website
  • These are the people that receive, consume, and share the content we create
  • We can predict this audience’s reaction to content via Mechanical Turk

Audience Types in Narrative Theory

According to narrative theory structures, content makers address 3 types of audiences:

1. Actual Audiences

The people who actually end up consuming a piece. For us, this group is almost impossible to predict or know – outside of the data we can measure, once we hit “publish” it’s anybody’s guess who is encountering a given content piece.

2. Authorial Audiences

Often a best guess at what the “Actual Audience” will be, this is the hypothetical ideal audience the author imagines when laying out a piece (e.g. “Larry” and Larry’s typical client). This is also a group the content creator has assumed will encounter their work with some context or foreknowledge (historical, political, cultural, etc.). The better we can understand their foreknowledge, the more accurately we can shape our content to achieve its aim. We invest considerable effort in this with every piece we make.

3. Narrative Audiences

This is an imaginary audience that the narrator (not author) wishes they were speaking to.

Although we primary address Authorial Audiences when crafting content, attention to the relationship among all the above audiences can help us to understand the tone we want to take, as well as why certain pieces do or don’t work.

For our purposes, numbers 1 and 2 are the most useful, but 3 is an interesting thing to play with. Specifically, when we assign a narrator (for example, Jane Bond). Just as an author has an audience, so does the narrator. Often, our consideration of an abstract audience can serve as a good starting point.