Do you speak with your audience or at them?
We all have a tendency to write for ourselves rather than our audience. This is especially true when it comes to writing marketing or advertising content. We want them to know our products' great features, how fast it is, how shiny it is and how it's the next great thing to come along. Before you start writing, try as best you can to stand in the shoes of the audience to whom you intend to market your products or services. Think about who they are, what are they likely to search for online, what do they want and need, and how can you meet them where they are rather than expecting them to move their thoughts and patterns to your position.
To avoid having messages misperceived or misunderstood, choose language that will be understood by most (preferably all) of your recipients. Think of the individuals who comprise your audience before you communicate with them. Ask yourself:
Who is the audience?
Why am I writing/presenting? What do I want my audience to know or do?
What do they already know? What is their level of understanding?
What is their likely attitude about the topic?
How can I honor my audience’s needs and perspectives?
What does my audience want to achieve?
What medium will support the message the best — e-mail, letter, memo, report, proposal, etc.?
What format or layout will appeal to the audience and support the message?
Remember, people don't buy what you sell, they buy what they need. Show them how your particular product or service is going to enhance their lives. Everyone wants to know "what's in it for me?".
As the final step before beginning to write, organize your ideas. It’s a true sign of respect for your audience. Show that you are concerned for their time and attention. Plan to present the information that will make the most sense to them. With this in place, you’re ready to start writing.
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