Audience: Definition, 3 Types of Audiences

Audience: Definition, 3 Types of Audiences

Knowing your audience is important for running a successful business. Selecting the right audience and understanding what makes them ticks them; is necessary to promote and sell your products to them. 3 categories of the audience are the lay audience, managerial audience, and expert audience.

For running a successful business, you need to promote and sell your products to a targeted and valuable audience.

Finding out the right audience and figuring out their needs and engaging them is the right way, it the biggest challenge for any business.

Companies that are successful have properly identified their audience and attracting them to their products and services.

Audience Definition

An audience is a group of readers who read a particular piece of writing.

One should anticipate the needs or expectations of your audience in order to convey information or argue for a particular claim.

Your audience might be your instructor, classmates, the president of an organization, the staff of a management company, or any other number of possibilities.

You need to know your audience before you start writing.

Determining your Audience Type

Writers determine their audience types by considering:

  • Who they are (age, sex, education, economic status, political/ social/religious beliefs);
  • What level of information they have about the subject (novice, the general reader, specialist or expert);
  • The context in which they will be reading a piece of writing (in a newspaper, textbook, popular magazine, specialized journal, on the Internet, and so forth).

You’ll need to analyze your audience in order to communicate effectively.

Three Types of Audience

Three types of audiences are the “lay” audience, the “managerial” audience, and the “experts.” The “lay” audience has no special or expert knowledge.

They connect with the human-interest aspect of articles.

They usually need background information; they expect more definition and description, and they may want attractive graphics or visuals.

Managerial Audience

The managerial audience may or may have more knowledge than the lay audience about the subject, but they need knowledge so they can make a decision about the issue.

Any background information, facts, statistics needed to make a decision should be highlighted.

The “experts” may be the most demanding audience in terms of knowledge, presentation, and graphics or visuals.

Experts are often “theorists” or “practitioners.”

For the “expert” audience, document formats are often elaborate and technical, style and vocabulary may be specialized or technical, source citations are reliable and up-to-date, and documentation is accurate.

Academic Audiences

Assuming you are writing a paper for a class, ask yourself who is the reader?

The most important reader is probably the instructor, even if a grader will look at the paper first. Ask yourself what you know about your teacher and his or her approach to the discipline.

Do you know, for example, if this teacher always expects papers to be carefully argued? Has this teacher emphasized the importance of summarizing cases accurately before referring to them?

Will this professor be looking for an “argument synthesis,” showing how the cases all support one point or will this professor be more interested in seeing how the cases complicate one another?

In other words, take the time to brainstorm about what you’ve learned about the teacher to help you meet his or her expectations for this paper.

You probably know more about the teacher than you think, and asking questions about how the teacher treats this material in class will help you remember those details to help you shape your paper.

Nonacademic Audiences

Nonacademic audiences read your writing for reasons other than to grade you. (Some teachers assign papers specifically asking students to write for non-academic audiences).

They will gain information from your writing.

Think about writing a newsletter or a resume: an audience read these for information, only how they use the information varies.

A nonacademic audience involves more than writing. Consider the following:

  • You’ll have to determine who the audience is.
  • You’ll have to think about what is an appropriate format to use.
  • You’ll have to consider what is and is not an appropriate topic for your audience. (If you don’t have one already.)
  • You’ll have to determine how your topic will fit the format.


It is vital to know your audience to tailor-made your message according to the audience; so that the message is understood by the targeted audience.