your audience & you

the original version of this post was my “Geek’s Grotto” from May 17th of last year – the episode where Charlie Capen from HowToBeADad.com joined us. the entire 50 minute episode appears at the bottom of this post and you can subscribe to the iTunes podcast by clicking here.

audience is something i’ve talked about over and over on these few podcasts we’ve posted so far. that’s because i find the subject of audiences and how they’re changing nowadays fascinating. i find it fascinating because the subtle changes in how audiences are behaving, how they’re choosing their content and how they’re remaining or NOT remaining loyal to the content they’re taking in – these subtle changes seem to be, at least to me, creeping closer and closer towards a tipping point. i’m not saying we’re going to wake up tomorrow in some kind of indie filmmaker paradise. what i am saying is that our concepts of celebrity are changing. that we’re expecting more from our storytellers and that we want to be more a part of their lives. i’m obviously not saying that this is true of each and every one of us, but in aggregate more and more people expect to be able to interact with their celebrities and have some kind of effect on them. the chasm between fan and celebrity is shrinking.

as an independent creator of content, that’s a desire in a portion of our audience that we can exploit if we know how and can make it part of our lives.

a friend of mine, Charlie Capen, is an excellent actor. a little over two years ago, with his business partner Andy Herald, he started HowToBeADad.com, a funny, irreverent and sometimes poignant Daddy Blog. Charlie started promoting HowToBeADad via twitter from Day One. to date, their twitter account has nearly 150,000 followers, but here’s the thing: he clocked over 35,000 tweets in that time – that’s an average of 45 tweets per day. a lot of those are interactions with fans, responding to mentions and promoting the works of colleagues. those fans were hard-earned.

… and i’d venture to say that they’re more than just fans – and that is the crux of the difference between fans of old and fans today. to a greater and greater degree, fans want to be interacted with. they want to feel like their opinions matter, that their beliefs matter.

i won’t even get into the ridiculous false equivalency between FOX News fans and MSNBC, but even so it’s impossible to deny that an entire form of entertainment has sprung up over the need of some people to deny easily proven facts and replace them with complete falsehoods – such is the power of audience.

so what does this mean to the indie artists? it means you have to know your audience. know who they are. know what they want. know how they want it. i don’t necessarily mean specifically, but that never hurts – particularly the super-fans. those are always good relationships to develop, but what i’m talking about is knowing your art and understand the types of people who yearn for your art. the truth is, they’re probably a lot like you. that urge that drives you to create your art is probably very similar to what drives them to consume it.

even established artists start to fade away unless they themselves know, respect and interact with their audience. but it all begins with knowing them, interacting with them is actually an entirely different story and we’ll get into that later. for now, just challenge yourself to know your audience through and through.

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