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Sharing what I know about type-based illustration while helping creatives do their best work

Why Reaching Everyone is Helping No One

april-reaching-everyone-image-2107.jpg
 

“I want to help everyone!” 

While the intentions are certainly positive, the effectiveness is questionable. 

Figuring out your target audience seems easy peasy at first.

“Oh, my audience are teenagers 14+ to 35”

That’s good. But figuring out and diving into even more specifics will do so much more in terms of executing your work. 

I didn’t know who my target audience was first starting out. Which meant, I was throwing up blog posts and illustrations that I thought people needed. You can continue to guess all day but...

You’ll be missing a lot of real struggles that people are actually having trouble with.

While you’re giving away relatively valuable content, you’re missing out specific needs and goals and therefore missing out on creating a deeper relationship with this person. 

And that was my task for the greater part of 2016.

Heck yes it was fun creating illustrations that I enjoyed. The underlying problem was these illustrations were created for myself, which by the way there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. I just wasn’t addressing something I could improve about an illustration or help solve a problem.

The core of my message was really, I like this stuff, I hope you like it to! 

I was filling my own temporary satisfaction and adding to the sea of aesthetically pleasing work—like dropping your creations into an ocean hoping something would latch on. You could be waiting for hours—years.

To ensure you have a clear focus to whom you’re creating, writing or teaching whether it’s for a client or your personal brand, knowing who you’re ultimately serving will add greater meaning to your work. Thus, improving the life of theirs. 

Create with your target audience in mind

To do that, the steps are straight-forward. Ask yourself:

  • Who do you want to reach? 
  • Find out what your audience’s needs are
  • Help them through your medium of choice 

What if you don’t have an audience?

A great tip is to start by thinking, what were you struggling with just starting out?

What would you have wanted to know before pursuing your creative passion? Start writing those things down. What would you have wished someone had told you? Again, write those down.

Help people who are currently where you used to be

You might be pleasantly surprised that people share similar struggles to yourself. It’s actually how I started writing without a real audience. There was a lot of productivity, business and creative advice that I needed to do my best work but was never taught how. So I just started to write about what I’ve achieved so far and fortunately people took away something from it! 

In case you’re on the edge and want to help everyone still…

Defining your target audience doesn’t mean you’re limited to just those people you have defined.

You can have an idea and target certain groups. But as you continuously refine and improve each day your work will impact different groups of people—even unintentionally. The more specific you go with defining your audience, the more useful your content will be in the beginning. The more specific you content is, the more meaningful your work will be for your audience. Why? Because you will establish trust and expertise. 

More questions to help define your audience:

  • Where are they currently? 
  • What do they need help with? 
  • Where would they like to be and what result do they need helping with? 

If you’re a brand-owner and have been at it for a while, I sure hope you know exactly who you’re customers are. If you’re a creative trying to land more client work, those questions I asked above, will help you start defining who you’re helping.

How effective will your message be if you knew exactly what they need help with? And then compare the quality of your message if you just thought they needed it. 

No matter how well-crafted your message is, how beautiful your illustration appears, if your audience doesn’t need it then you’re not really serving them. 

Three actions you can take right now

  • If you don’t have an audience, document your process and produce content based on the things that you’re learning. Then put it out there! 
  • It’s important to build a picture of your ideal user. Write down everything about this person, from hair colour to where they might eat (no joke)
  • Remember, you’re not going to be stuck with this defined person forever. But specifying and niching down is one key to start helping the right people.
 

 

I hope you took away something from this post! Building an audience is a topic I’m enjoying and I’m seeing the results of niching down. Let me know your thoughts and if you have any tips to share too, tweet me! @jaytenart

Alright, many thanks for reading!