I highly commend the web page 'Nine top tips for Media students'. From the people behind theory.org.uk, its worth a read!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Audience research blogging

This is a complementary addition to another post from the MusiVidz blog, where I've frequently blogged on audience issues (search or use the tags cloud to find examples to use for your research). That post also contains links to further blog resources, including on audience theory.

At the bottom of this post I've embedded a Word doc with detail on what steps to take to help evidence your work on research.

As the Word doc at the bottom highlights, audience keeps cropping up in the markscheme for every element of the coursework and the exam! Failure to tackle this well, and provide clear evidence of having done so, will most likely cost you one or more grades.

Here's what you're trying to achieve - show that you've...
  1. Clearly defined your (primary and secondary) target audiences, and edited this whenever evidence (eg through feedback) suggests this isn't working as you'd originally intended. Always blog on every change; its fine to admit that your initial idea of a target audience was inaccurate, so long as you're clear on why any revised outline is now accurate.
  2. Tested your outlined target audience/s (see point 1!). Remember, evidence of this is key: simple video/vodcasts are useful, and will help reduce the workload for the Eval Q on this.
  3. Researched the media profile of your act/track/genre (more genre for obscure acts); looking at where they appear should provide useful evidence. This includes not just radio, web and print (papers, mags), but also films (tie-ins, soundtrack/OST, dialogue references) and ads.
  4. Listed any and all websites you might get useful aud feedback from - official and fan FB pages, Twitter accounts and hashtags, Instagram blogs, fan club and fansites etc. It doesn't take long to write up one post and add this to each. Be clear but brief on what you're doing and what sort of feedback you're after, with a clickable link for this.
  5. Keep summarizing your findings as you go; if you do this as vodcasts you'll have covered ground for the Eval Q.
  6. For every sample sequence or rough cut seek and separately post on feedback. This needs to be specific and directed; if you don't specific which elements you especially want feedback on, you'll get vague, general 'I dis/liked it' comments which tell you little.
  7. Keep updating links lists to make it highly visible that you've done this.
  8. Always add on your response. Be clear and specific. If you reject feedback, justify this.

Using Past Blogs for Inspiration
The previous post on audience highlighted one example of a student's audience analysis. I explained what was good about this, and what was missing that would push this up to the highest marks range (from basic/proficient to excellent).
Here's a few more past posts, with brief added commentary, for you to consider:

This 2015 A2 example is a good reference point: you can see a video questionnaire, and this being delivered to a class, teachers etc, as well as audience feedback on rough cuts etc

2013 - Daft Punk:
Audience outline: this was clear but too brief. It would help to add a picture of a person (either someone local or a googled image) and break down what characteristics (ie demographics, lifestyle, hobbies, consumption patterns/media use) make them an exemplar target audience member.
What was good here was the specific reference to the impact of target audiences:
We are also targeting a secondary tween audience. Many younger teens 12+ listen to music often associated with an older group as they aspire to be like them therefore we have included them in our target audience. We have not focused our project on appealing to them directly but we have considered them. For example excluding any references to sex, drug taking or drinking directly meaning our music video would be able to be played before the watershed hour. 
Evidencing research into suitability: this post was again quite brief, but made good use of data on what people view on YouTube (a reference/link is needed to the source though!) and a screenshot of data on 1 of their rough cuts from a YouTube channel.

Could have been more comprehensive, but useful evidence
Media profile: this group blogged on this twice, finding very useful examples: here and here, ... and then noted another example - this post demonstrates that you can be brief and still effective. What these posst needed was clearer, explicit analysis of how these findings would influence the design of any of the 3 texts. The group realised the helmets were iconic and so belatedly decided to incorporate this into all 3 texts, an idea that partly emerged from this research - so they should have highlighted this point! To be fair, this post contained good analysis and a useful summary.

Digipak aud feedback: this wan't neglected; this post contains early feedback on a dummy design (ie missing a lot of detail, really a proof of concept or mock-up - a little like an animatic for a video)

Using social media: as well as a separate company blog (Quack Cuts), this group ran Twitter and Facebook accounts, and blogged on these. Simple really, just screenshots and a quick note! They also used fan forums. All quick and easy to set up, and you can help push traffic (thus comments) there by using your Facebook pages etc. These can also be useful if you work on a secondary, viral concept which helps to link the 3 products.

2012 - Girls Aloud: