The more I work with clients, finish successful writing projects and run training webinars, the more I realise how important it is to start with your audience. Not only do you make a bigger impact, but you make your life much easier.
Here are 3 things I try to keep in mind when focusing on an audience:
1. Where are they now?
What stage of the purchase process if you are selling, what entertainment are they immersed in if you are writing fiction. In selling, people generally jump to far forward in the “plot” driving a customer to make a sale – how can someone know they need to buy new tyres from you if they haven’t noticed that their old ones are flat? In fiction, most writers usually start too early in the piece – cut to the action and save everyone some heartache.
2. What do they expect?
If you are preparing a commercial message, you want it to stand out from the usual messaging your audience sees from the market. In fiction, it’s always a good idea to know what your audience is likely to expect from the narrative, so you can provide a satisfying conclusion – or shock twist!
3. What do you want them to do?
Usually, on a page-by-page, line-by-line this is “keep reading until the next bit”, but as you start to look at the work as a whole it’s usually to feel a certain way or take a certain action. Like buy your product or enjoy reading your book and have the desire to read more!
Three simple questions, but if answered rigorously and honestly, you can take a massive leap forward in the quality and ease of communicating effectively with your audience.
Note: You can probably see that this post is a little schizophrenic – talking to folks who want to write copy and tell stories (though you should really do both). It’s because as I write this article I haven’t got a clear picture of the audience in mind. So which side of the coin do you think you’re on, selling or storytelling?