Monday, August 18, 2008

Your audience's favorite subject IS your audience

I read about a study last week that found teens are only "sorta" interested in the Olympics. The problem isn't that the Games are boring, but they're suffering from the same challenge nearly every medium and message faces today: they have to compete against text messages, blogs, cell phone conversations, and other content all focused on teens' favorite topic: themselves.

Now teens aren't alone in this: we all like content that's all about us. There are a couple of differences between millennials and the rest of us, however:

1. They're the first generation to have easy access to tools that allow them to create their own content, which means that content about themselves is always accesible, and

2. They're not predisposed to choose old media over other options.

In other words, we Gen Xers and Baby Boomers aren't less self-centered; we're just more conditioned to turn on the TV and less conditioned to create content.

This is a crucial point to remember when crafting your message, whether or not you have a Olympic-sized budget or idea. If your message isn't about your audience, it's not going to have much of a chance of cutting through. You can't just talk about yourself. Today's gold medal communicators start by figuring out how their message is relevant to their audience, and they focus on that. Do anything else, and you'll be lucky to make them even "sorta" interested.

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