True fandom, at its core, is about emotional resonance. When you create compelling emotional experiences for your people, you’ll be well on your way to lifelong fans.

But therein lies the problem. Emotion is messy and unpredictable. You might create content for months on end, only to find none of it strikes and chord and connects meaningfully.

That’s where audience mapping comes in.

As you immerse yourself in your niche, you’ll start noticing patterns. You’ll see recurring themes in the language people use, and the ideas that reliably spur emotion.

An audience map, then, is simply a place where you document all of these patterns and insights.

That way, when you’re creating content, building a product, or writing copy, you have a deep reservoir of insights to pull from.

It takes time to gather data on what’s already generating emotion in your niche. And to be honest, I find the process tedious. It sucks ass.

But this document will help you understand and empathize with your audience. It’ll help you chart their emotional landscape so that you can navigate it with confidence. And that’s well worth the upfront time investment.

As for the “how” of audience mapping, here are some questions and ideas to get you started.

Outer World

  • What are the best places to reach my niche online?
  • What types/forms of content do they engage with the most?
  • What are the most popular recurring topics within the niche?
  • What are the hot button and divisive topics?
  • What jargon or group-specific language does this niche use?
  • How do they spend money in relation to the niche?
  • What does an average day/week look like for someone in this niche?
  • Are there any dates that are significant to people in the niche?

Inner World

  • What are this group’s deepest dreams and desires?
  • What stands in the way of achieving those dreams, both externally and internally?
  • What keeps people in your niche up at night?
  • Who are the enemies and antagonists in their narratives?
  • What do they deeply believe about the world at large?
  • What do they deeply believe about their specific group/culture?
  • And finally, what do they deeply believe about themselves as an individual?

Start collecting answers to these in a document or spreadsheet, and you’ll be well on your way to resonance on-demand.