Target Audience: How to Address the Reader

When you start typing, what do you do first? Do you roll up your sleeves and start writing, or do you stop for a moment to visualise the final text? 

Writing is not only putting words and paragraphs together. On top of high-quality writing, a text needs strong headlines, logical connections, and a smooth flow. It also needs to be done with intention.

When writing a text, you should always have one key thing in mind: the reader.

Who, What, and Why?

Before you start writing a text, always take a second to visualise it – who is the ideal reader, what are they looking for?

We give you instructions on the required tone of the text. If it should be casual or formal, subjective or objective. But truly understanding the reader is what makes content successful.

Let’s take for example a betting guide for beginners. The instructions for the text describe the tone as “casual, informative, objective”. Who is the intended reader?

The intended reader is someone who is interested in betting but doesn’t know a lot about it just yet. Instead of throwing all of the betting terminologies at them, you’d want to bring it down to an easy-to-understand level and take time to explain concepts. The same works in reverse, an experienced better looking for information does not want to have basic concepts explained to them.

As a freelance writer, you might not always be privy to the site where the text will end up, but when you do, use this information to better target its readers.

People google when they want to know something and Google ranks sites according to the site that gives the best answers to a reader’s query. A great writer will anticipate the reader’s questions. 

Step Into the Reader’s Shoes

To break this down further, let’s go with a product description for a popular online shop that markets towards teenage girls. The client wants a product description for a pair of shoes and the requested tone is “casual, youthful and selling”. 

Let’s fill in the gaps:

Who =  A teenage girl looking for stylish clothes who might wonder “Can I wear this to school? Would it look cute in an Instagram picture? ” 

What = What does the product offer? What else does the shop sell?

Why = Why should the reader buy this? Why should they want that product? 

You wouldn’t tell them how comfortable a pair of sneakers are to run errands in or how great a pair of shoes are for the office. Instead, you’d say “As the perfect mix of trendy and comfy, this dress is destined to become your new fave. Great for low-key days with friends.” 

This simple 3-question formula can be used for other writing styles such as blogs. Describe and justify. 

Now that you know how to target your audience, happy writing and stay awesome!

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