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Finding Your Demographic

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by Terry Doherty —

Happy New Year!

I hope the transition from 2014 has been smooth, and that you’re ready for a fantastic 2015!

DemographicJanuary offers a ready-made opportunity to pause. It is both a time for looking back and thinking forward. So as we kick off our new year, I thought I would do just that.

Not all that long ago, I wrote an article about getting started with social media that looked at the concept through the lens of traditional marketing and promotion. Whatever your industry – and ours is publishing – the key to marketing success comes from knowing who is in your demographic.

On the surface, our demographic is easy to define: readers! We publish books for people to read. Unfortunately, that isn’t very helpful when it comes to marketing your book. Do you know who is in your demographic? Odds are, it is a diverse population that includes:

  • Your target audience – the person who is meant to enjoy your book.
  • Librarians – the people who read and recommend books to your target audience.
  • Retailers – bookstore owners and others who buy and market your book to your audience.
  • Educators – people who use your books to teach and engage your audience about specific concepts and ideas.

Each member of your demographic has a different interest or role. Some may know exactly how to find and share your book with other readers; others may know a lot about books like yours (but not yours). So how do you figure out who is in your demographic?

DemographicFirst, you need to define your target audience in concrete terms. Who do you see reading your book? Start a list with things you know about them.

The more specific the characterizations on your Knowledge List, the better. Examples:

— Teenage girls whose dad has cancer
— Parents who need to explain dementia to a four-year-old
— Men and women who want to be professional photographers

Individually list age(s) of the listener; age(s) of the reader; gender(s); and all associated topics, as well.
Next, go online to identify alternate ways to characterize your book. Not everyone thinks about or characterizes a subject with the same words we do. This is especially true when it comes to searching on the Worldwide Web.

You can enter your terms into the box on your favorite search engine, but a better option is to use a Keyword Search tool.

These tools are generally used for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but that same idea of finding related concepts and phrases is useful for demographic research, too.

Enter the words / phrases in your Knowledge List to help you identify different ways to describe your audience.

Here are two of my favorite Keyword tools:


— Wordstream (pictured above) – What makes Wordstream stand out from other tools is the “Keyword Niche Finder,” a free tool that helps you find “pockets of most profitable keyword opportunities.”

Keyword Tool – Enter a word / phrase and you’ll get 750 recommendations (from Google). Apply those same terms to see how people characterize their searches on YouTube and Bing, as well..

Take these results and add them to your Knowledge List. These additional concepts and descriptions can help as you look back on your marketing efforts over the last year (what worked, what didn’t) and guide you toward new ideas and marketing approaches in the coming year.

Here’s to a great new year ahead.

Image Credits:
Bullseye – Iconfinder
Knowledge List – Terry Doherty
Wordstream – Terry Doherty

Terry DohertyAbout the Author: Terry Doherty is a voracious reader with a keen analytical eye and a lifelong passion for writing. Combine a passion for reading and kids, a natural affinity for analysis, and a love of solving puzzles, and you’ve got Terry. Before becoming a Mom in late 2001, she spent nearly 20 years as a research analyst, supervisor, mentor, trainer, and analytical program manager with the federal government. She has drawn on her acclaimed expertise as a national security analyst in her roles as senior editor and publishing director for an independent house; and mentor for both her consulting business & flourishing literacy nonprofit.

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