Driving engagement by focusing on the audience

Most of us writers and content creators know we should put our audience first. But few teachers, coaches and others ever tell us how to do that. Let's fix that!

The next few posts will outline a quick plan to help you develop content and copy with your audience in mind.

But first, let’s focus on you, the person charged with writing the copy or creating the content.

Seems obvious, but the best way to get yourself focused on the audience is to think about your own experience as a reader, viewer, listener. For the next 24 hours, pay attention to how you consume content and process information.

  1. What gets you interested in the first place?
  2. What makes you stay with the content?
  3. How do writers and content producers hold your interest? (Here's an example)
  4. What kind of details do you crave? (There are three kinds)

For instance, are you drawn in by a catchy headline or one that’s “just the facts”? Try writing the type you like, followed by writing the opposite. Then try writing a combo headline that would appeal to a broader group -- perhaps a snappy headline with a more informative deck or subhead. Here’s one from Fast Company:

A Better Paper Route
In countries like Guatemala, remittances from migrant workers in the U.S. are critical to the economy.

Think, too, about the things that hang you up.

  1. Do you lose interest if there's not enough data to supports claims?
  2. Do you get lost if there are no subheads?
  3. Do you get bored by little anecdotes and first-person accounts?

Simply bringing awareness to your own likes and dislikes as a content consumer will help you remember the importance of considering your audience’s preferences as you write.

My next post will focus on a few key steps that will help you learn how to write content that’s relevant to and engaging for your audience.