Identify the Target Audience
Don't forget, the first thing you need to do is to develop a rough idea of what you want to do and how you want to do it. Accomplish What? helps you initiate a strategy appropriate to the problem you want to solve.
Once you have the beginning of a plan, the next step is to familiarize yourself with the "community " and identify one or more target audiences.
A focus on a target audience is essential to success, according to research evaluating effectiveness of outreach programs and campaigns. Once you have identified the goal of your outreach effort, brainstorm who, specifically, could be a part of making that goal happen.
There are many ways to identify your target audience. It's best to begin by breaking down your outreach goal into simpler elements. For example, you want to reduce the amount of soil that gets washed into the storm sewer after a storm event in a city. Where does that soil come from? If one source is new construction, what specific activities take place at the construction site that result in soil erosion during a storm event? Who, specifically , can influence how each of those activities is managed?
Involve others in thinking through this part of your outreach plan. Stakeholder involvement builds interest, motivation, and credibility for your effort and is also likely to provide some very good advice. Other ways to gather information about the potential target audience include: surveys, focus groups, or a review of the published literature about the topic.
You may also want to select your target audience based on one or more of these characteristics. People can be grouped by any one of these characteristics. For example, you might want to address all farmers who maintain buffer strips in riparian corridors.
For more information about what questions to ask or what research shows about a specific target audience, see BEP Research. Reviewing the findings of our target audience literature review or reading the specific articles we cite may also help you identify a target audience. For tips on how to identify and analyze the target audience, see the "Resources" section below..
Getting In Step, A Guide for Conducting Watershed Campaigns - available from U.S. EPA:
Washington State University Extension "Community Ventures" publications listed in the "Community" folder. See especially:
Wilbur, Jack. 2006. Getting Your Feet Wet with Social Marketing. A Social Marketing Guide for Watershed Programs. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Salt Lake City, Utah, pp. 36-45. http://ag.utah.gov/conservation/GettingYourFeetWet1.pdf