How do I write for an audience I don’t understand?

You and I have different internet habits. I prefer reading words, while some of you prefer watching videos. I surf the web mostly from my laptop, but you might do it through your smartphone or tablet. I like scanning articles online, yet you might prefer to select your articles and download them to be read whilst commuting. All these things add up to affect the way we behave online, what we read or watch, and most importantly, how we discover new things.

So, if we are all so different, then how can we, individual entrepreneurs, learn how to write for our audience that we don’t really understand?

If you don’t want to hire a large team of researchers and consumer habits experts, or spend lots on data collection and analysis, there are three key things that you can do.

1. Identify your message and keep it clear
If you do not know what your message is, then there is no way that you’ll be able to communicate it, whatever the platform. Spend time to figure out what your key message is. Try and summarise it in one sentence. When you think you have it pinned down, tell it to a few friends or family members and see if they get it. If you need to explain further, then you don’t have it yet.

Your message is important, so give it time and make sure that you get it right.

2. Taylor your message for the platform(s) you are using (and understand the limitations of each platform)
Once you have your message figured out, select the platform(s) that you would like to use. The common ones would be your website (or blog) and social media sites. List them down, and consider how your message should look/feel on each platform. This might be obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people get it wrong.

For example:
YouTube – video only. People aren’t going to read from a video unless they’re lyrics to a karaoke song.
Twitter – use your 140 characters well. You’ll need a link (to a video or blog post, for example), a popular hashtag that relates directly to your message, and the short, succinct message you’ve been perfecting.
Facebook – you need a strong image and alluring text. Make sure your post is public and searchable, or it’ll only be your friends and family who will see it. Better still, set up a public Facebook Page and post there.
Website/Blog – Keep it to roughly two pages long (one or two scrolls). Use a strong image and make sure your blog title explains the article precisely.

3. Explore and experiment
The internet gives us free access to lots of information, all available at our fingertips, so use it. Look at what other successful entrepreneurs or companies are doing and question their processes. Ask yourself why you like or don’t like what you see.

If you have something (article, social media account, etc.) that is more popular than the others, think about why that is so. Consider how your audience interacts with it. And don’t be afraid to experiment. Try out different things and be creative! Write short pieces, long pieces, or post them at different times to see which ones gain more traction. You can use simple, free tools like bit.ly or Google Analytics to help you track each of your experiment, so you can learn from them.

There are plenty of great tips and advice on the internet for how we can use the internet strategically. The only thing that you’ll need to do, is TO DO!

 

Social Media Explained from Leverage New Media