Is it more important to be accepted by our peers or our audiences?

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Many industries hand out awards that are recognitions by peers.

 Journalists submit entries that are then reviewed and judged by other journalists. Of course, those other journalists aren’t the actual target audience of the journalists submitting their potentially award-winning work. But yet they decide what is best of class.

This concept doesn’t just apply to journalism awards but many other industries as well. 
I also seen it with speakers, who get endorsements from other speakers. But that other speaker isn’t really that person’s target audience. They are peers, maybe even business partners here and there. 
On my speaking page, I have comments, too, but they are from audience members – people who heard me talk and who are the ones my content is created for.
Certainly, sometimes our peers are also our target audience. For example, marketers and communications staff are my peers but they are also one of the audiences of this blog. That’s certainly not always the case for all strategies.
I wouldn’t turn down meaningful connections and reviews, but really it should be our audiences who evaluate our content and its quality. And not some peer, who never seen our stuff until they received a package in the mail with a handful of entries.
Clearly, we all get judged all the time. But the most important judgements are the ones that come from our target audiences (which I prefer to call interested communities). 

My perception is that there actually has been an increase in awards that take audience acceptance into account. I’m thinking about those where the public gets to vote online. That’s certainly a step in the right direction.

How else can we determine if something is worth an award from the audience’s perspective? 

Answers to these questions might help:

  • Are they consuming the content?
  • Do they share it?
  • Does it connect with them?
  • Are they advocates of the content producer?

There are likely other measurements.

Being judged by the actual group we are trying to connect with is meaningful. That’s what I want.

No doubt. Everyone will judge everyone. And not everyone will love everyone. But interested communities love what the communities stand for and are sharing with each other.