Research and define audience needs for your community

Business benefits

Identify who your community members are, and understand how your community can satisfy their needs, by applying a series of techniques.

Decide whether your community will be relevant to a large number of people for a short time, or a small number of people for a long time.

Communities only succeed when the audience finds them to be the most relevant way to satisfy their needs and desires at a given moment. The two basic types of relevance are:

  • Large number of people for a short period of time, in which members visit the community to ask a question or satisfy a particular need. Customer support communities fall into this type.
  • Small number of people for a long period of time, in which members visit the community because they feel a sense of belonging and want to learn what others are doing. Peer groups and practice communities fall into this type.

Survey your audience, asking about demographics, behavioral characteristics, and psychographics such as needs, desires, and pain points, which can be used to segment responses.

Use a survey template to design the questions and flow of your survey.

To conduct your survey, use a simple tool like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or TypeForm or a more advanced tool like Qualtrics or Alchemer, depending on your expertise and organizational competencies.

Analyze survey responses to identify unique audience segments.

Focus on demographics and behavioral questions to see if any unique clusters emerge.

Use a statistical significance tool, integrated in platforms like SurveyMonkey, if a completely valid measure is necessary. Outline what makes each segment unique based on the survey responses.

Interview 3-5 people per audience segment to learn about the content they read, the people they want to connect with, and the roles they take on.

Dig deep into the specifics of what these members want and need. Focus on the identifying trait you have identified in your survey analysis, as well as information like the types of content they read, the types of people they want to connect with, and the kind of roles they take on. Use Feverbee’s Member Interview Questions Template for inspiration and sample questions.

Build member personas that outline audience needs, technologies used, and motivators from information gained in your surveys and interviews.

Create personas that develop an accurate picture of who your audience is, what their needs are, and how you might reach them. Use a member persona template such as Feverbee’s to structure and develop your personas.

Conduct data analysis to confirm the validity of personas based on how they interact with your existing content and identify behaviors the community can build on.


You can add some of the key information from the explanation to the step text. Remember that we’re not trying to intrigue people so that they’ll read the step explanation; if they have some subject matter knowledge already, we want them to be able to get by just reading the step text itself.

So the step text could look like:

Combine key points from these 2 sentences:

  • Survey your audience.
  • Ask about their demographic, behavioral, and psychographic traits.

Link to the SurveyMonkey template provided in the lesson slide deck.

This isn’t useful here as is. It’s a specific example of demographics that you might use for segmentation if you were aiming your community at a specific market – product managers. Either expand it to explain the product manager example and provide examples of each demographic, or take it out.

Overly complicated way of saying something simple.

Don’t finish a step with and more. What’s the reader supposed to do with that? Playbook steps need to provide concrete actions, not vagueness. If the other information is important, specifically list it. If it isn’t, no need to mention it at all.

Combine this with the step text – no need to repeat ourselves.

First sentence makes no sense. Second sentence should be first.

Step explanation needs to include something along the lines of:

Make sure there are direct links to the Feverbee templates mentioned in the lesson slide deck – Templates | FeverBee. But the text you write for these links needs to work well with or without the links, as we need to allow for broken links in the future.

Edits made. The Feverbee site is having issues, though the link text now makes sense even if that continues.

@lsmous Remember that links can disappear, and the link text needs to be useful if the link is dead and stripped out. This wouldn’t be.

Also, the step text is too long – the 2nd sentence is fine to go into the step explanation, since it’s about how to do the step well rather than integral information.

The rest is looking good. :slight_smile: Yeah, external sites going down or randomly moving content are two of the reasons we have the don’t draw too much textual attention to links rule – once you hit a certain number of playbooks, trying to manually maintain them is a nightmare. So we can set up scripts that check for dead links and automatically strip them – but they can’t automatically fix the text. If we have good text there in the first place, we don’t create the problem, dead links can be stripped, and everything is still usable and readable.