Figuring Out Who the Heck You’re Writing For

Audience

It’s remarkable how one simple question can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of your communication.  Next time you sit down to write, regardless of whether it’s an individual blog post or your overall website content, ask yourself:

Who’s this for?

Establishing clarity as to who your audience is prior to writing can help you write the kind of content your readers are actually looking to find.

Get Specific

The broader your audience, the harder it is to write content that will resonate with your reader.  Is it impossible to write compellingly for the masses?  Absolutely not.  But it’s tough.

Think strategically about who it is you’d like to attract with what you’re writing.  For example, if you run an animal shelter in Detroit, chances are you’re looking to connect with animal enthusiasts in the surrounding area.  Don’t worry about targeting all the animal lovers in the world.  Use your web copy to show local animal lovers you understand what’s happening in Detroit and you can offer unique solutions that they’ll likely connect with and understand.

It’s often worth sacrificing quantity of readers to connect with those that are higher quality and more likely to support your nonprofit.

Subcategorize Your General Audience

Different pages or posts on your website can target different subcategories of your overall audience.  Sticking with that Detroit animal shelter, perhaps they have part of their site dedicated to dogs.  Within this section, maybe they have pages aimed at families looking to adopt a pup and those that are looking for what to do if they’ve spotted a stray dog.

As you can imagine, the content and tone on these pages should be fairly different.  The adoption page will likely draw on emotion whereas the stray dog page will be far more procedural.

Shift your approach to match the audience you’re targeting.

Stay Focused

It’s very easy to broaden your target audience as you write.  But try your best to stay focused. If you find yourself broadening, consider breaking the page or post into multiple pages or posts, each targeting a different audience.

Multiple, targeted posts are typically better than a large, nonspecific post.  The more focused each individual post, the better the likelihood you’ll be able to write content that resonates with your readers.  And that’s really what it’s all about.

Related Reads

Using Emotion to Connect with Website Visitors

6 Questions to Ask When Editing Website Content

The Best Way to Be Heard? Provide Value

Image courtesy of LeWEB11, Flickr