KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE – Put Yourself in Their Shoes

August 25, 2011 by · Comments Off 

“People don’t listen to what we write, or what we say, unless our words make an emotional and intellectual connection. It’s as simple as that. ” —Judy Dippel

KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE – Put Yourself in Their Shoes

I strive to help my clients understand that written words, about themselves or their company, are the next best thing to speaking face-to-face. If you could speak to each customer/client personally, what would you say? It’s important to strategically think about, because specifics about your target audience are essential for creating professional, quality materials.

I find, frequently, when creating key points for business materials, owners want to show and tell about “who they are” and “what they do.” Of course, that is at the very core of marketing. But first, before writing drafts or making presentations, it is vital to put yourself in their shoes, and understand their perspective. First, ask yourself, “Who is my target audience?”

Do you really know enough about them to convince them that they need what you have to offer? Think about it. If not, learn more by assessing your target audience with the following 10 questions. Keep these in mind, so that your materials resonate, emotionally and intellectually.

Whether writing business materials, genres of nonfiction or fiction, or when making a presentation, these questions work. Once you’ve answered them, you will feel better equipped to powerfully provide your audience what they need and want. Whether writing or speaking, they add direction to what you say and how you say it. Best of all, these simplify getting it done and getting it right!

  1. What does your audience anticipate when they read or hear about you or your company?
  2. What do they want to know? Need to know? Why do they care?
  3. Are they able to choose to read about, or listen to you, or is it a requirement of their job?
  4. What is the size of your distribution list, or audience to whom you are speaking?
  5. What are the demographics? Age, gender, education, interests?
  6. How does their culture or religious beliefs, influence interest in you or your company?
  7. What terminology and writing level will be best received?
  8. Who are they? (For example, my freelance commercial audience is business owners, managers, public relations staff and employees. Graphic designers and marketing teams. Literally, anyone whose work involves writing. I create materials that speak to writing skill and “how to,” not to a specific age or education.)
  9. What do you imagine they feel when reading or listening to what you have to say? (Excited, wary, curious, tired, relieved, nervous, grateful or hostile?
  10. Are there preconceived ideas, negative or positive current events, common life experiences or circumstances, that will influence how your audience
    will respond to what you have to say?

JLD Writes Special:
Effective August 24 – September 30, 2011

Do you feel like a casual meeting to receive some objective
and professional guidance? Schedule an appointment with Judy Dippel – JLD
Writes, from Aug. – Sept. 30, 2011, to receive a complimentary target audience
evaluation, and guidance on next marketing steps.

 

 

 

 

How to Write an Effective Newsletter

March 31, 2011 by · Comments Off 

“Writing is only limited by the imagination within us and the reality around us. Consequently writing is unlimited!” ~ Judy Dippel

This is a writing truth whether you are writing for business or for pleasure. Use all of your senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.

Most of us have heard the phrase, “Bloom where you are planted.” An example of this is the gray, windy and rainy Oregon spring day in which I write this newsletter. It could be depressing, but within my imagination I envision the beauty of the rainbow that will glow at the end of the rain and the bright yellow crocus and daffodils that will soon be seen pushing upward, giving us the first signs of spring—rain or shine.

I live in Oregon, so I get real and ask myself, “What do I love about rain?” I love the sound of it tapping away on my kitchen skylight. I love the effervescent green it creates in the lawns and the vibrant color within the flowers it feeds. I don’t necessarily like the slugs and snails that also enjoy the rain, but that’s my reality.

Ask yourself what is news-worthy or a story-starter for fiction or nonfiction from my two paragraphs above. At first glance, I count 20, but there are many more, because it’s all about your imagination. You simply have to open your eyes to the world around you or envision in your minds-eye. If you do so, you will never be stumped with nothing to write. This is true for promoting your business, as well as for those of you who write for sheer pleasure.

Let’s talk how this influences a commercial newsletter. Many of my clients are companies who send out e-newsletters. You may be one. It’s distinctly different from direct marketing materials in style and even content, and because of this writing it can seem intimidating. You want to “show, not tell” even though you won’t be writing about rainbows and daffodils!

Generally speaking, a direct marketing piece primary purpose is to sell, whereas a newsletter is the next best thing to talking to you personally. Newsletters help to build trusted business relationships. They are written in a conversational style, with key points evident, like this:

To assure your e-newsletter is well received, consider the following:

Link back to your company mission and yearly goals as newsletter content is developed—   this will help your writing remain focused, balanced and consistent.
Selling is not your primary objective with an e-newsletter. Rather the purpose is to build relationship, allowing your audience to get to know what you do and why you do it.
As you write it, ask yourself what information you need to provide to your audience. How, and about what, will you educate and increase their knowledge? What expertise, service or product do you have that your audience needs?
And … remember show what you do and why you do it. Don’t forget to include basic information. Link to your website. Include where you are physically located and how customers/clients can best contact you.

For you CREATIVE WRITING BUFFS, “bloom where you are planted.” Open your eyes.

 

As you are reading this, where are you? Look around. What do you see that gets your creative juices flowing? Mine is my dog. She is on all-fours, tense as she stares nonstop at a squirrel who is taunting her from the tree outside my office window. This could be a great opening page for a children’s fiction story, or an interesting hook for nonfiction article about the dynamic between dogs and squirrels.

In the same way, to begin writing, use all of your senses. Here are a few from me as I sit in my office. Hear: The garbage truck just rumbled to a stop, dumping my garbage into their truck. What happens to my garbage from here is a great story-starter for fiction or tremendous content for nonfiction. Touch: Today in my office, an ant just crawled across my arm—we’ve been fighting them for months, yet I hate to kill them. Why is that? Smell: The smell of coffee makes me relax. What are some other smells that bring fond memories or help me to relax? Taste: The zinc tablet I’m sucking on is supposed to shorten a cold—true or false?

I think you get my point. We are never at a shortage for things to write about. Again, we are only limited by the imagination within us and the reality around us—write on!