The website Interhactives is due to be re-launched next week by my MA Interactive Journalism coursemates and I, but before we go live, last week our Social Media and Community Engagement tutor Ben Whitelaw asked us to consider ‘who is OUR typical user?” Ultimately, who are we going to be targeting our content towards?
It may at first sound like a cop out, but I genuinely believe the people going to our site for content will be developing journalists just like ourselves. They are likely to be in their early 20s, maybe they’re finishing up their undergraduate degree or are halfway through their NCTJ course. Maybe, they’re even are our colleagues on the newspaper course looking to see what they’ve been missing out on for shorthand!
Considering our established social networks
The reason I’ve highlighted this group – is because I’ve looked at who will be contributing to the site. We are all pretty much at the start of our journalistic career, and most of the people who follow us on Twitter (where we’ll be actively sharing what’s sure to be great content) are student journalists themselves.
I know this is definitely true for me, as about two thirds of my followers are student journalists. Maybe they’re from our old student paper or we’ve met them through this course or work experience. But all the same, they’ll be the ones looking out to see what we’re doing next to navigate our path to become employed as professional journalists, and if any of the stuff we’re doing can help them along too.
Also, over on Facebook, it will be our friends with the inkling for journalism who will be hooked by a post about the latest tools for data journalism, not Hannah who I worked with at M&S.
So a little profile of what this user might look like:
- Aged 19-24
- Well-educated – probably attended or attending a redbrick university
- Looking to move ahead in a journalistic career – final year undergrad, NCTJ student etc.
- Gets most of his/her news online. Reads widely.
- If not already a Twitter addict, they’ve at least set up an account ‘for job purposes’
- Spends too much time reading and sharing Buzzfeed lists, or what they saw on Reddit/Youtube – humorous content will draw them in.
- Reader of Wannabe Hacks, Journo Grads and possibly journalism.co.uk
- Has a beginner – intermediate level of interest in data journalism and community engagement – might read Guardian’s Data Journalism blog, has probably messed around with creating an infographic on their SU’s cuts for their student paper or something similar!
- At the same time, they could be coming completely fresh to the topic – they could be a prospective City Journalism student who’s clicked through to the site from the ‘courses available‘ page.
An international outlook
This is not to say that our users will be confined to this rather narrow group. At our first Interhactives editorial meeting last week, the team discussed how we hope to reach a more international audience this year – particularly as we have contributors from all over the world, so why shouldn’t our readership reflect this?
A secondary user of our site may also be established journalists – ones who may have been brought to the site through one attention-grabbing tweet, like what they see and continue to keep a watch on the site.
It is more likely though that they will have been recommended an article by someone else in their network, as people are more likely to view an article if they know the person that’s shared it.
This argument brings me back full circle to the beginning – we should target our content towards the people in our already existing social networks (aka student journalists), as they will be more likely to read it than someone who has no connection to what we are doing, or is so established in this field they do not see us as an authoritative source.
We can then build on and expand our readership from there – because as they share our content with their wider networks, we will become a more authoritative source on social media and data journalism news to wider net of people.