Last week’s post on writing for a diverse audience sparked a great discussion, with some really interesting thoughts contributed by bloggers at all stages of building a blog, and from a range of markets and niches.
Audiences, niches, and topics demystified
I have a pretty simple way to differentiate between an audience and a niche.
I think about an audience as being a group of people.
To me, a niche is like a market “space,” including other blogs, other offerings, other sites and services (all of which may also serve other niches), as well as readers.
And a topic is an area or item of interest. It’s relevant to particular audiences, and probably relates to more than a few niches.
Let’s see how this works in practice.
DPS: topic, niche, and audience
To explain this most clearly, I’m going to reverse the order in which we consider these concepts because I think that’s a more intuitive way to grasp them.
On DPS the:
- topic is photography
- niche is DIY amateur photography education
- audience is English-speaking amateur photographers who want to teach themselves more about photography, typically for a specific purpose: travel photos, family snaps, portraits, and so on. These people have various characteristics—age, gender, purchasing power, previous experience with my brand, degree of photographic skill, interests, and so on—that I can use to unite them into different audience segments.
From this little explanation, you can see that the topic is a big umbrella. The niche fits under that umbrella, with a lot of others. There are lots of other niches in the field of photography: professional photography services, photography equipment and software sales and reviews, photographer profiles, folios and galleries—the list goes on and on, and the niches overlap.
Finally, the audience is the group of people who are engaged with or interested in that niche. They might also be interested in other niches under that umbrella, too—which is why DPS provides reviews and offers on equipment, shows off reader photos in galleries, and so on.
In fact, that’s an example of writing for a diverse audience.
Planning content for a diverse audience
A diverse audience might contain groups of readers with clearly differentiated needs or interests, but most commonly, the truth is that different audience members may move between audience segments, or have a range of “niche” interests that vary over time.
On DPS, I have readers who just want to get better at taking photos with their phone cameras. This is their key need. Then I have readers who are interested in developing a range of professional-level skills as a photographer, without any interest in establishing themselves as pro photographers.
Both these audience segments might be interested in content on taking images of people, provided the information focused on their common needs. What are those needs? Off the top of my head, I’d guess content on either portraits and/or action-shots of people could be made to appeal to both these segments.
Importantly, to meet the needs of these diverse segments, the content would need to give advice that wasn’t equipment-specific, or, alternatively, it would need to give equal attention to the different equipment these readers would be using.
Article ideas that met the needs of these diverse audience segments might include:
- the basics of photographing people in motion
- how to spot a good action shot, any time, any place
- tips for better nighttime photography of people
- post-processing tips for portraits.
These article ideas are all on the same topic—photography. They address the same niche—self-education for amateur photographers. Within that, they look at the sub-topic of photographing people. And in so doing, they target users from diverse audience segments: camera-phone junkies and high-level amateur photographers who want to develop pro skills.
Show us how you meet the needs of your diverse audience segments
Hopefully this has made the idea of audience segments a bit clearer, and provides a helpful roadmap for your own review and analysis of your own readers and content.
If you’re writing for diverse audience segments on your blog, why not show us how? Point us to a post that meets the needs of multiple segments, and explain how it works—and whose needs it meets—in the comments.