Here’s Where to Start With Figuring Out Who Your Audience is


B.J. Mendelson
3 min readOct 26, 2022

I’m in Orlando for a thing.


Not a Disney thing.

Another thing.


I have to keep this brief.

This year marks 20 years since I first started to do this marketing thing.

So. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it would be like to start over.

What would be the first thing I’d do?

The first thing I’d so is figure out why I’m going to do whatever it is I’m going to do. (So basically, watch this video.)

The second thing though is more interesting.

Because the second thing would be learning as much as I can about my target audience.

Back 20 years ago, if you wanted to target college students, you would have advertised in college newspapers. That’s what Hotmail did.

Not everyone remembers that.

Instead they tell you this story that Hotmail just grew from word of mouth.

They leave out the part where the word of mouth came from: College campuses.

Specifically, ads in college newspapers.

Today, if you wanted to target college students, you would need to be waaaaaaaay more specific.

For just one example, you would target college students between the ages of 18 and 21 with iPhones who attend schools in Southern California and like to participate in made up water sports.

That’s not a real example. But you get what I mean.

SO. Where do you go to get this information?

I’m going to show you three tools that I’m using over the next few weeks.

The first place you go is to

Be warned: It’s not cheap. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that most of you will only need access to it for a month while you conduct your initial research.

So, all told, it’ll run you just over $150.

No. This is not an ad for SparkToro.

I’m telling you this because I just purchased a month of access to do EXACT same thing I’m encouraging you to do here.

Now, here’s what I want YOU to do:

Once you’re inside of Sparktoro, you’re going to see a search box asking you a few questions.

Pick the one that says, “My Audience Frequently Talks About …”

Then, answer the question.

What does your audience talk most frequently about?

If you don’t know the answer to that question, take the week to figure it out. (Or just guess wildly.)

If you DO have an answer, and you have the paid version of SparkToro, run your search and then export the results.

Then, use your favorite spreadsheet tool and just take some time looking over the data.

Here’s mine. I answered SparkToro’s question with “Comic Books”.

Looking over your data, ask yourself:

Did anything surprise you?

Did it confirm what you thought?

Do you see any patterns forming?

Keep this data handy.

Next week we’ll get into how to get the most out of this information.


P.S. As always, new episodes of WAYWO.TV drop every Wednesday morning at 9am. And on Thursday morning at 9am, we will ALSO have a new installment in our WAYWO.TV special report: Stupid Sexy Privacy.

Listen where all podcasts can be found.



B.J. Mendelson

B.J. Mendelson is the author of “Social Media Is Bullshit” from St. Martin’s Press.