Specifying your audience to broaden your reach.


So how can you learn from your target audience, to make stories thrive on your website and still let general website visitors feel welcome?

You publish complicated scientific stories with a lot of data, big words and factualities. You have one focus: cater people who love to read those articles, love to read about science. Do you know who those people are? The TU Delft communications team had that as their focus and they assumed it was a broad, diverse group of readers. But do you actually know you audience? The communication team had no idea.


Trying to reach ‘everyone’ is really hard, not to say impossible. A broad definition of an audience kept the team from experimentation and digital innovation. Hackastory opened the team up to the possibilities of audience focused digital storytelling.

The communication team publishes stories about science happening in- and outside the university. They were aiming to reach as many readers as possible. Targeting both students and professionals as a general audience makes them the journalistic voice of the university.


Together with the communication team we set around the table for two hours, starting off with some expectation management of the afternoon. Working with our method can be a process of 2,5 days, but we wanted to show them that it’s possible to get the hang of it in just under 2 hours.

Their expectation of the audience were serving were not in line. We noticed that the topics they covered were so specific that it was hard to bring these stories in an intriguing way. So first they needed to become specific about their audience. In this process they realized that if they specified their audience for every story, it was way easier to find a digital intriguing way to tell the story.

“Before this workshop we used to create articles for everybody. The result: our stories matched with nobody. Now we have a better focus on who our user is and what their needs are.” – Annelies de Bakker – Delft University of Technology


Hackastory opened up the team to the possibilities of audience focused digital storytelling. They were not optimistic about the possibilities of the website. Is it impossible to have a diverse audience because you don’t want to exclude anyone? No. However, aiming for a smaller group within a pool of keen readers helps you make more focused and effective communication decisions. This was the main insight of the communication team. With this insight they managed to make three digital concepts of existing stories. Nowadays, websites have a bigger impact when they specify their audience. When you go for a niche you actually broaden your reach. As a result, they were optimistic about the possibilities for their website.