The Benefits of Knowing and Serving Your Audience

There's a reason the "...for Dummies" books are so popular.

A couple of days ago I posted a Final Cut Pro editing training demo on how I made the now infamous title sequence referenced in yesterday’s popular blog post about working with your spouse when you both are creatives. Assuming your creative business part doesn’t have an issue with drop shadows, you should check it out. Anyhoo, an anonymous commenter mentioned that he thought that the demo was “editing 101” and he wondered if he was missing something. I retorted that although the demo may seem basic to him, to many of my readers it would not. Many of my readers are photographers who “grew up” on iMovie (if they’ve used an NLE at all), and I’m pretty sure that key-framing a drop shadow in a Boris 3D title sequence is not basic knowledge for them.

That person’s comment got me thinking…

First, I think from now on I will mention the difficulty level for any demos I post. No point for an advanced user to waste his or her time watching a video that will be too basic for them.

Second, it reminded me the importance of knowing your audience and making sure you are delivering the information, education and/or entertainment they want. As I mentioned earlier, a large segment of my readership is photographers. In fact, I would guess that 50-60% or more of my readership are photographers. (I think the last time I conducted a survey of my readership was about two years ago. It’s interesting to see how much my audience has changed in that time. Based on a day’s worth of respondents, it would appear that my readership make-up has totally flipped. It looks like about 2/3 of your are filmmakers. It would be interesting to do another survey to see what level my readership it.) In any case, even at approximately 1/3, that’s a good chunk of my audience who I’m certain for whom key-framing a drop shadow in a Boris 3D title sequence would not be basic. Add to their numbers those filmmakers who read my blog who are also relatively new, and there are enough of you for whom this demo would be worthwhile.

Lastly, I was also reminded of a two valuable pieces of advice taught to me by Scott Bourne of PhotoFocus. First, never assume that just because you know something, that a majority of other people do too. There are lots of topics I would never write about because I assumed they were too basic and that everyone must already know that. There was a time when I never would have made a demo about my infamous sun-tracking drop shadow because I would’ve thought exactly like my anonymous friend. “This is too basic.” Scott taught me that me that there are plenty of people out there who would marvel at what I consider elementary.  It totally opened up my world as a blogger when I no longer judged what I wrote about based on MY knowledge of the subject. There will always be enough people out there who DON’T know to make it worth while (be sure to tune in next week for my post on how to tie your shoes.)

The second piece of advice Scott gave me was this: there’s a much bigger audience (i.e. market) for beginners than experts. Apple’s development of FCPX is proof of that. That my friends is some good bizness edumacation.

One thought on “The Benefits of Knowing and Serving Your Audience

  1. I have a friend who talks about “the curse of knowledge” which is when because you know something you assume that everyone does which can cause you to inadvertently talking over people’s heads because you failed to realize that what is basic or second nature to you, is brand new to them. This is a great post that serves as a solid reminder to not assume the level of knowledge others have. Taking the time to explain the basics is always helpful to someone 🙂

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