Oohing and Aahing Your Audience
Clarity vs. Impact
Seth Godin is awesome. How can you disagree with that? Well, all week I've been wanting to short sheet his bed and put salt on his toothbrush. Or some similar mean-spirited prank.
His blog post: Clarity vs. Impact. What the heck does he mean? I have no idea. A bit dense I guess.
I wonder, though, if you've ever experienced a dichotomy between clarity and impact? Can life always be trimmed down into a bullet point list, or are the more complex systems always going to be a bit of an enigma (like Seth himself at times...)?
The Dense Fog of Stories
Seth goes down a rabbit hole in the third paragraph of that (very short) post and discusses the need to act and not just coast on the "easy ride of clarity".
I had a real 'what in the heck are you talking about' moment here. If you imagine that clarity is an "easy ride" then I don't know what planet you are on. Not mine. Clarity is one of the most difficult places to get to, in my opinion. You don't just select the bullet points option in your visual editor and "bam" you get clarity.
There is no easy road to clarity in my life.
Rather, usually, clarity comes only after traveling through the dense fog of stories. In fact, as I read that paragraph over and over, I kept getting a pretty clear image in my head. And I'm sorry, Seth, but that image wasn't pretty. It was Seth, as Don Quixote, riding his donkey, battling windmills. All action and no clarity.
I Want The Road To Clarity To Be Fun
For you, at least. For me, honestly, it's rarely fun & I need to take lots of breaks. But I've had success teaching this stuff, and I have a really hard time not making teaching fun, so let's try.
I've noticed, in talking to clients, that the most enigmatic and unclear (and so, unimpacted) area in our business lives is our audience.
I wrote about this earlier, when I spoke about knowing both your brand and your audience and what they want and need. I truly believe that character development, for both your brand and your audience, can bring harmony to that complex system and give you clarity, focus and, hopefully, greater impact on your market.
Sometimes Clarity Comes Easily...
Sometimes, quite honestly, finding out about your audience is dead easy. You might need someone to help guide you a bit, remind you that even though you wish your audience were tall, dark and handsome (or Fabio, or George Clooney, or Katy Perry?) the fact is that your real audience, the guy that really reads your stuff and might one day buy from you, is not quite so glamorous.
And Sometimes, You Need A Jolt
But sometimes, it's not so easy. You don't have enough data yet, you are getting mixed signals from customers, whatever. How can you start that audience development process?
Again, from my background in both counselling and writing, I have a fun solution that might get the old character/audience development juices flowing and help you begin that process:
Give your (perceived) audience a personality test (or two).
Traditionally, when authors are doing character development, we sketch them out by beginning to answer questions about them. There are many, many of these character questionnaires. The idea behind them is to begin to flesh out these fictional characters; make them real.
Now, I do not want you to stay in fiction-land with your audience, but for a temporary jolt to jump start the process, this might be just the ticket.
Jung Typology Test - This is a free version of the famous Myers-Briggs personality test. I answered it based on who I think you are, and I found it very helpful.
Keirsey Temperament Sorter - This is also free for the immediate results. Interestingly, you are an Idealist in my mind. How true do you think that is?
The Big 5 - A free version of the Big 5 personality assessment. For some reason, I found this easy to answer. I see you as calm, social and open to new experiences. Am I close?
For more fun tests, including one where you find your Star Wars Twin, check out this site. The idea isn't to let this be the end of your persona development strategy, but as a way to get unstuck when you feel that you don't know who your audience is.
And if you find out that your audience is mostly made up of dumpy, average, introverted nerds, well, embrace that dumpy, average-looking nerd and love him to pieces.