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Understanding Your Audience and Building Audience Personas for Advocacy Campaigns

When planning a communications strategy, you need to understand the motivations of your audiences.

As you build a communications plan, one useful exercise is to develop audience personas, so you have a specific idea of the type of people you're trying to reach with your communications.

A communications plan starts with goals, but understanding your audience is paramount to reaching those goals.

Crafting compelling communications that resonate with your target audience requires a deep understanding their motivations, preferences, and needs.

One valuable tool in your advocacy toolkit is the creation of audience personas.

Starting with Understanding

As you plan a communications strategy for your advocacy campaign, you must recognize that success hinges on how well you understand your audience. Goals and messages are essential, but to bridge the gap between your advocacy objectives and your audience, you must first understand who you're speaking to.

Imagine if you could put a face to your audience, understand their motivations, and tailor your message to speak directly to them. That's precisely what audience personas allow you to do. An audience persona is a detailed, semi-fictional representation of your ideal audience member. It's a powerful tool that enables you to create tailored content and messaging that resonates deeply.

The Process of Building Audience Personas

Match Goals with Audiences

  • Look at your goals and understand what audiences you need to move to reach your goals. Do you need the constituents of a specific legislator to take action? Are people with certain interests most likely to react to your policy plan?

Identify Audience Segments

  • Break your audience down into segments based on common characteristics. How old are your targets? How do they consume content and news? Where do they live? What are their interests?

Persona Creation

  • For each segment, create a persona. Give your persona a name, a face (literally, use a stock photo), and a backstory. Include age, occupation, hobbies, goals, pain points, and values.

Tailor Your Message

  • Now that you clearly understand your personas, craft your advocacy messages to resonate with each one. Consider what each persona needs to hear and how they prefer to receive information.

Test and Refine

  • As you roll out your advocacy campaign, continuously gather feedback and data. Use this information to refine your personas and messaging for even greater effectiveness.

Building audience personas has tangible benefits for your advocacy campaign.

By tailoring your messages to specific personas, you increase the relevance of your content, making it more likely to resonate and drive action. With personas in place, your advocacy campaign becomes more efficient. You can focus your efforts and resources on reaching the right people with the right message. Personas help maintain a consistent tone and style across your communications, reinforcing your campaign's identity. Targeting specific personas allows a more precise measurement of the campaign's impact. You can track how different segments of your audience respond. It's not enough to just pick an audience, you need to put thought and understanding into audience development and build audience personas if you want to find success with your advocacy campaign.


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