You may be wondering where your webcomic sits in the vast sea of media that people consume on a daily basis. It’s a confusing question. There are whole degrees dedicated to the topic and honestly, condensing it down into one article is… undeniably almost impossible. IF we were going to tackle the question in the sense of media as a whole. Thankfully we don’t have to do that.
Let me give you a definition of what demographics are and then we can skip forward quite a bit. We don’t need all the bells and whistles. All that webcomic creators require are a specific set of skills to get them moving forward in their particular craft. All you need as webcomic creators are these skills, then you can go on to categorize your comic correctly for marketing.
So. What are demographics? According to Merriam-Webster:
Demographic: Noun | dem•o•graph•ic
1) Demographics (plural) : the statistical characteristics of human populations (such as age or income) used especially to identify markets.
• a change in the state’s demographics
2) (business) : a market or segment of the population identified by demographics.
• trying to reach a younger demographic
In large media, demographics are combined with other factors to determine the target audience of literally everything we consume on the small screen, large screen, and even the products we buy in our day to day lives. Demographics are… rather important. But here’s something shocking. Webcomics are such a niche area that demographics make them a hard sell!!!!!
So now what? Do you use demographics? NO.
And here’s why: Because webcomics are such a niche area, demographics restrict the content you’re creating to an even smaller audience. Do you want to take what is already a small portion of the population and condense it further? Our goal as creators, when marketing our comics as a product, is to reach as many people as we possibly can. Using demographics to target is actually counterproductive! It convinces people that if they don’t fit into that box you’ve created around your comic, then your comic is NOT for them!
Persuasion, as we have learned in past editions of Master Class, is a powerful marketing tool. It can also work against you if you use it incorrectly. Persuade with positive interactions. Don’t restrict your comic by age, gender or segments of the population. THERE’S A BETTER WAY!
The BETTER WAY is: Genre!
Let’s go back to Merriam-Webster for a moment:
Genre: Noun | zhän-rə
1) a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content
• a classic of the gothic novel genre
2) kind, sort
People gravitate to content they’re interested in! Things that they like, categorized by certain types of topics! This doesn’t restrict your comic to an age, gender or segment of the population. Rather, people are free to read your comic simply because it’s something they will like based upon their hobbies! Imagine the wider groups of readers this can and will bring in. Unlike popular media who can afford to market with Demographics + Genre, webcomics cannot do the same, meaning that genre alone is enough to bank on.
But we can take it a step further.
My number one advice to everyone I meet who asks me what they can do for their comic? Make it easy to relate to when you market it. Comparing your work to popular media isn’t shameful. It’s a marketing tactic you would be wise to use to your advantage. Readers like what is already familiar to them. They’re more likely to take a chance on something they’re already at least half sure they’ll enjoy, than to invest time in a product they don’t know from a hole in the ground. Give them something to relate to and rely on!
I’ve arranged a small questionnaire on how to do that to make it easier.
→ Do you have a character that reminds you or someone else of another character?
→ Does your comic remind someone of another story (popular media only, please!)?
→ Does your plot or world use a trope from a known story?
→ Does your world resemble an existing story world?
→ Is your plot reminiscent of a story from popular media?
→ Can you make something from popular media your slogan, but with a spicy twist (and without a lawsuit)?
Now. What can you use all this for? I’m glad you asked!
Here’s another list!
→ Advertisements (Project Wonderful, Google AdWords, Etc.)
→ Social Media adverts. (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Etc.)
→ Make a slogan for your comic!
→ Use it in your header!
→ Use it EVERYWHERE!
This segment of Master Class was all about Demographics & Genre, but what we can really take away from it is that webcomics are all about genre and finding the familiar ground between creator and reader. Genre is king/queen. Use it and popular media / familiar tropes to craft a marketing campaign for your comic that will draw in readers that are ready and willing to invest in your creation.
**Please note this does not speak for 18+ comics, which for legal reasons must retain the 18+ tag for sexual and perhaps violent depictions.
Check out the Master Class section of our site for more articles on how to be a better marketing specialist for your webcomic life!