Knowing your Audience and Writing for Them

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While building a blog about communications, my mind has been on my potential, audience to-be. The readers who may stumble across this blog by chance, those who might hear about it and perhaps even (one-day) seek it out intentionally – they are the ones I’m writing this for in the hopes that it will prove useful, helpful or perhaps, simply amusing.

In the business of communications knowing your audience is key to writing with impact. The interesting thing about writing for an audience that doesn’t yet belong to you is that you have to imagine who they might be. There are some great examples of brands and other content creators that have cultivated and sustained robust, loyal communities, and this ability becomes increasingly important in the digital age. Social media companies, like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, for example, have to pay particular attention to their unique, tech-savvy, Generation C (C = connected) audiences. According to award-winning author Brian Solis, Generation C’s “expectations demand instant gratification, personalized service, and individual attention.” (Read More.)

One social media company speared lately for mishandling their long-standing audience is, of course, Reddit. The firing of popular site administrator, Victoria Taylor, spurred Reddit’s audience to revolt, with many of its most popular pages closing themselves down in protest. Though it could be argued that Reddit’s audience was a wild-wild west to begin with, something about what makes that eclectic audience who it is was misunderstood.

“Though Reddit was originally intended as a place where the ideals of free speech and the wisdom of the crowd would reign, often the crowd turned into a mob” (Read More.)

Some might argue that the user-driven site was in a downward spiral already, and recent events only escalated things. Regardless, it is an example of what happens when a content creator or producer fails to understand its audience.

Here are three principles I try to stay true to when developing content for a particular audience:

  • Add value – Share valuable content with your audience on a regular basis. Share information that is useful to your community, and related to your brand. ‘Share, don’t shill’. For example, if a company sells video cameras, instead of posting a direct ad for a sale on their product, they might consider engaging people on social media by posting helpful videography tips. By sharing useful content, of interest to their audience and related to their brand for free, they are establishing a positive relationship with that audience, increasing the likelihood that they will turn to that brand when they are interested in making a purchase.
  • Measure your message – Before developing any communication, whether it be promotional materials, like postcards, floor decals or buttons, or releasing a social media campaign, it’s crucial to make sure you can implement the tools to measure the effectiveness of your messaging. Measuring the effectiveness of your communications ensures that you can continue to learn and improve your efforts. Familiarize yourself with the measurement tools on the platform you’re using and check your metrics frequently during your campaign to see how well what you’re sharing is resonating with your audience.
  • Tell Stories – The content you create should always tell a meaningful story. Stories that reflect the values of your brand in action will be engaging and relatable to your audience. This kind of emotional connection will help you to not only connect with people in a memorable way, but to build a community that will come to rely on you to continue sharing valuable content.

Knowing your audience and writing with them in mind is all about staying true to your messaging and your community. As Pigeon and Post grows, I will keep the above tips in mind when creating content, responding to comments and engaging with any followers I’m fortunate enough to meet.


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