Relationships and audience scale

This is interesting:

It’s not about content: Part I:
I’ve been arguing that media should build their futures around relationships, using content as a tool to that end. I’d say that is even more true of brands.
— (Via Jeff Jarvis/BuzzMachine)

This tallies with my current thinking, that the revolution we’re living through (and shaping) revolves around audience scale. I see lots of projects which are rooted in managers trying to come to terms with mass audiences. ‘Mass’ in the television or newspaper sense: writhing mobs of millions of people.

From my experience, it takes several years of working with these audience scales before you even begin to get comfortable thinking about them, let alone understand them, and I’m not sure anybody truly does understand them. Without that background, too many web media campaigns are ill-conceived and badly-run, as people chase some weird chimera of what they imagine mass media should be like. But they’re chasing the wrong goal anyway, as are the people who relentlessly clutch at the glory days of broadcast and yearn for their return. It’s not about millions of people any more.

In the blunderbuss days of broadcast ‘millions’ was about as precise as targeting got, but maybe only 10% of that audience really engaged with the content. The rest were collateral damage, and with the aid of precision web munitions media we can try to zero-in on the ‘real’ audience and avoid wasting everyone else’s time. That ‘real’ audience, the people you can engage and connect with, may be a thousand people or a hundred thousand. Unless you’re Coca-Cola it’s probably not ‘millions.’

But that core audience is tremendously precious, because they’re your customers, your collaborators, your partners. They’re the people who receive your message and act upon it.

Jarvis is right: it’s about the relationships, and the content you produce as a way to establish those relationships.


StoryCog is a communication consultancy and film production company; see more about us here, or explore the links above left. The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors, though they're quite likely to represent the company's position too.


Get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.