Good writers don’t just write, they write for an audience. If you want your content to gain traction, you need to know who you’re writing to. Writing is both an art and a science, and the science part comes in when figuring out who your audience is. To be an effective writer, you need to know how to connect with an audience you many never see.
The Psychology of Writing For an Audience
Understanding what you should do to appeal to a specific audience is the key to success. Good writers know not everyone will connect with their content. The key is to allow those who appreciate what you’re saying to find you and then provide them with valuable information, content, or resources that help them solve a challenge. The motivations, desires, and pain points of the people you are talking to of paramount importance when it comes to creating content that will resonate with your target audience. Like any good story, you’ll need to include a exposition, a climax, and a resolution.
How Do You Get to Know Your Audience?
When planning to write content for an audience, you should first know who you are writing for. Whether your work is meant to be read as a blog, recorded as a podcast, or put into the video, what you say and how you say it matters.
Conducting Audience Analysis
One way to know your audience better is to conduct surveys of your target population to see what they want, their goals, and any challenges they’re facing. Once you have this raw data, you can transform it into a variety of buyer personas. These personas will help you to recognize who you should be focusing on and common challenges that your target audience experiences.
If you are an individual writing a blog, you can also go into your previous posts and look at the share rate to see how people are responding to your posts. By measuring the level of audience engagement, you will have a better idea of what matters most to your audience and provide this information for them.
Creating value for your audience is the goal when creating successful content. People come to your site for a variety of reasons:
- To get information– Many people who are reading your blogs or articles are looking for specific information. Many of them may have gotten there by doing a Google search, while others may have clicked the links on your social media accounts. Whatever the reason, you have a chance to provide them with powerful information that will help them.
- To view others’ comments– Some people seek out content in order to be sociable or to contribute to a community. These people usually want to contribute something that will help improve their credibility. Perhaps they also want to help others and happen to be an expert on the topic being discussed. These people will respond to information that is rich in value on a given topic and help increase your social engagement.
- To express opinions– Many readers connect to your content because they have opinions about your content and want to give their analysis of the content. Talking about slightly controversial topics may increase their interest level and promote even higher levels of social engagement.
- To solve a problem– The largest number of people who are on your site are probably there to see if you can solve a problem they have. It could involve a personal or business matter. Many times, if you’re working with small businesses, it can include both simultaneously. If you can provide content that satisfies this need, you will earn points with your target audience and begin to establish a following.
Customers will also read your content when they’re considering your products or services. They want to know if your company is knowledgeable and trustworthy, or they may be searching for more information to educate themselves on that particular product or practice. Your content is your first line of interaction with potential customers; it’s your first impression, make sure it’s shoes are shined and has a firm handshake!
So, the key to writing successfully for an audience is to know what people want and provide value to them based on their needs. When you are selling a product, you are placing priority on your potential customer’s needs and addressing how you can benefit them better than your competitors.
Three Elements of Great Content
Once you know the demographics of your audience and what makes them tick, you’ll want to make sure you include the following elements in your writing:
- Voice-The voice of your content is the style or the way in which you deliver your message. For example, if you are speaking or writing for a group of insurance customers, you may want to keep your style more serious. If the audience is a group of parents who want to throw parties for their child’s birthday, the mood and voice should be upbeat, high energy, and fun.
- Tone– Tone is similar to voice but rather than the style of the writer, it focuses on the mood or attitude of the content creator. It can be direct or suggestive. Depending on the audience, it can contain information that incites immediate action or provides information that connects psychologically to the reader.
- Purpose-The purpose of your piece is the most important element of your content. Ask yourself, “so what?” when you write a piece. If you don’t know the purpose, your audience won’t either. Create a content plan before you start writing to help organize your thoughts, topics, and how you want your content to be presented (whether a video, podcast, blog etc.)
Like anything you do in the online environment, it’s important to have a way to measure your success. If your content production is to be successful, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. What topics are popular? Is your content being shared, liked, or starting conversations?
There are a number of methods to help you quantify your content success. I suggest using Google Analytics. Google makes it easy to track page popularity and page movement through this tool. Google Analytics is possibly the best method to track progress and success on an individual and all page level.
Another way is to use Google AdSense on your site. If you allow Google to place ads on your site, you’ll have a better idea of how people are responding by how many clicks there are on the ads on your site. Be sure to regularly check your social media accounts as well and note your shares, likes, and comments.
Whatever you do, make sure that you have a way to measure the success of your content so you’ll know how to tweak it if need be. Sometimes, just one small change can make all of the difference in gaining more viewers or readers. Use A/B testing, changing only one variable at a time, to develop a clear understanding of what is actually affecting your audience. It could be as simple as your image choice, background color, or phrasing style.
In order to write for an audience, know your audience. Get to know who you want, and don’t want, to target by creating several buyer personas. Once you know your audience, appeal to their specific needs. Focus on your purpose while writing and think about what you want it to accomplish.
Ultimately, words mean nothing until you connect to an audience. Making that psychological connection to others and encouraging them to act is the goal. That’s what it’s all about!