Your target audience is the group of people you are trying to reach.

Consider the issues you want to address, and then define what specific type of person you’re trying to target.  For example, consider:

  • Age: Teenager or elder?
  • Gender: Male or female?
  • Location: Urban or rural? On or off the reservation?
  • Ethnicity: American Indian or Hispanic? Other community members?
  • Marital status: Single, married, divorced?
  • Income: Rich, middle class, or poor?

Please note that the broader your target audience, the more difficult it will be to reach them. For example, if you define your target audience as “everyone,” then you’re attempting to target everyone from age 0 to 110, male to female, all around the world. It will be very difficult to find one unifying message for that large of an audience. It will help immensely to narrow down your target audience as much as possible.

A Tip from the Team

When you’re trying to reach everybody, you’re reaching nobody.

Once you’ve narrowed down your target audience as much as possible, you’ll want to learn a little bit more about them. What media do they use? How often are they exposed to it? What look and feel appeals to them? One way to find out these answers is to look at your community as if you were an outsider. Observe people as much as possible and ask them a lot of questions. Ask about what types of media they use. Ask what images appeal to them. Ask what types of messaging would persuade them to do something. You may have done some of this type of work via qualitative methods in Module 4. As you do more and more research, you will probably learn that there is not one common look and feel that your entire target audience all shares. That’s why you should use different types of media to target different audiences. You can also use different imagery for different audiences. But always remember, the more you tailor your message to your target audience, the more effective that message will be.


To clarify what action you want your audience to take, go to the next section.