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Think Like A Showrunner: Week 3

Last week we explored case statements and the Uta Hagen technique. This week, let’s discuss personas.

Ask yourself this question: Who is your target audience?

I’ve seen hundreds of TV pitches, and only a handful of would-be showrunners have answered this essential question correctly. Your target audience is the driving force behind the success of your organization. You need to speak to them.

By compiling a variety of data—from social media habits to psychographic attributes—showrunners can segment their audiences into different categories to better communicate with their audience. These segments are based on personas. Every show builds a communication strategy around four persona types: casual viewers, super fans, selective viewers, and event viewers.

Casual Viewers (aka Irregular Donors)
Casual viewers will watch a show if it’s on, but they won’t tune in every week. Watching Saturday Night Live each week might not appeal to casual viewers, but they’ll tune in if a celebrity of interest is on that week.

Not everyone courts casual viewers. In an interview with the BBC, The Wire creator David Simon was asked, “What about the casual viewer? The people who want to dip in, dip out?” He did not hold back. “If you’re a writer, do you want a casual reader? I don’t want those people.”

Donors with small, random donations might not actively support your organization, but the right partnership can help turn them into loyal supporters. A study by Rutgers–Camden researchers found that celebrity partnerships are associated with the largest increase in public donations. Like special guest stars, celebrities can add credibility to your organization and garner the support of small donors.

Super Fans (aka Ambassadors)
Super fans can recite lines from their favorite scenes in their custom-made costumes. While the show is on, they’re tweeting. These passionate supporters feel connected to the mission of the show (and of our organization). While other personas may stop watching a show if their favorite character dies, super fans stay engaged even after a show is finished.

Whether it’s behind-the-scenes videos or trivia games, ambassadors are most engaged with content. These personas have read every word on your website a dozen times and are hungry for more. Give your super fans a chance to share their love by creating social media toolkits and contests. Turn your ambassadors into strategic crowdfunders through peer-to-peer fundraising.

Selective Viewers (aka Major Donors)
Like casual viewers, selective viewers won’t watch a show just because it’s on. But once they find their connection, they’re as passionate as super fans. They know there’s an abundance of television shows (and social good organizations), so selective viewers make calculated decisions. Before committing to a show, a selective viewer reads critics’ reviews, monitors the Rotten Tomatoes score, and gets opinions from trusted friends. Once they commit, their support is limitless.

If you haven’t done so already, start building a relationship with reporters and media personalities in your area. What better way to reach out to selective viewers than with media coverage? Journalists are looking for a story, and you have plenty to tell. Not sure where to begin? Try sites like Help A Reporter Out, which partner reporters with relevant sources.

Event Viewers (aka Event Seekers)
Event viewers only tune in during major events for fear of missing out (FOMO). Missing out is a universal fear, only heightened by social media. In our hyperconnected world—with its endless status updates, breaking news, and events unfolding in real time—it’s no wonder that 69% of millennials suffer from FOMO. This persona might not actively watch football, but they’ll tune in during the Super Bowl to be part of the conversation.

To captivate this persona, think of strategies that incorporate group settings, such as peer-to-peer fundraisers. When event seekers see what others are doing—whether that’s attending an exclusive event or donating to a campaign—they’ll want to jump in, as well. If they miss an event, make sure to highlight future opportunities to join.

Ready to create or improve your personas? Join the Organizational Best Practices: Marketing—Persona  workshop or Organizational Best Practices: Fundraising—Peer-to-Peer workshop.
Posted by Jenny Toledo on May 30, 2019 1:32 PM America/New_York

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  • Posted Wed 17 Jul 2019 02:23 PM EDT