How to Get Inside Your Target Audience’s Head
“Who is my target audience?”
Before a professional writer puts pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as the case is more likely to be), they first need to establish who they’re writing for. Why? Because just like an MC needs to know their audience before they start their gig (rude jokes and loads of F bombs probably won’t go down well with a room full of religious types), a writer needs to understand what makes their target audience tick in order to persuade them to follow through with a desired action when they’ve finished reading.
Connect with your target audience
So how does a professional writer figure out who their target audience is and what makes them tick? Firstly, they ask themselves a series of questions like:
- What is my reader’s name?
- How old is my reader?
- What does my reader do with their life?
- What does my reader already know about my topic?
- What do I want my reader to do after they’ve finished reading my stuff?
While these questions are pretty specific, the answers don’t have to be literal. A professional writer who wants to learn more about their target audience before they start writing can use these questions to form a basic idea about their ideal reader. These questions provide a great starting point for writers and businesses to connect with their ‘ideal’ audience and client, by putting a name and face to an otherwise invisible person, particularly due to the rise of the age of the internet.
For a professional writer who’s crafting content for a new website that sells, let’s say, fashionable yet functional clothing for pregnant women, the answer to the above questions could be:
- Sam (short for Samantha)
- 31 years old
- Sam is pregnant with her second child. She works part-time and looks after her busy son the rest of the time. Sam is very active and enjoys going to the gym and hiking.
- Having been pregnant before, Sam knows how hard it is to find fashionable clothing that fits well, is comfortable and looks great when pregnancy sometimes isn’t nice. She also knows that pregnancy clothing needs to be functional to fit a mum’s busy lifestyle.
- After Sam finishes reading this website, she should love our range of pregnancy fashionwear and want to buy it all.
Sam is not a real person. She’s an idea of the ideal person that a website that sells fashionable, functional pregnancy clothing wants to sell to. The same questions would have completely different answers if the website was selling farming equipment to farmers, or wooden toys to kids (or in reality, to kids’ mums).
How to dig a bit deeper
These questions are a great base for developing an affinity with the kind of person you want to communicate with, but they’re only the beginning. Empathy mapping or creating a persona takes the process to whole new and much deeper level, whereby writers and businessowners get inside the heads of their ideal customer and audience on a very visual and practical level. No character traits, values or motivations are left unturned; someone undergoing empathy mapping effectively gather real or perceived insights about their customers then makes a conscious decision to focus all of their marketing effort on these people alone. Creating a persona is a great way to get inside a reader’s head and discover exactly what makes them tick.
How to create an empathy map or persona
Firstly, set aside 30 minutes where you can get creative and become totally immersed in the process. You’ll need a big sheet of paper and some felt-tip pens, plus some room to spread out.
- First up, draw a picture of your reader in the centre of your piece of paper. Push any inhibitions to the wayside. You’re making magic here; you’re not trying to win an art competition.
- Once you’ve drawn an image of your target audience, label four sections around them: Thinks/Feels, Sees, Says/Does and Hears. At the bottom of the page, draw two more sections: Pains and Gains.
- Now, fill in each section with words and phrases that best describe your reader or audience. Use facts that you know about them, plus some gut instinct.
- If you have a few different kinds of audiences, create a persona for each of them.
- Finally, keep your persona visible to everyone who communicates with your reader or target audience so all messaging is on the same wavelength. Before you write or publish anything, always look at the purpose from the point of view of your persona. If they wouldn’t relate to it or follow through with your desired action, your work needs work.
For help with crafting content that’s specific to your reader or target audience, talk to the friendly team at Lingo – we’d got the know-how and can-do to establish who your audience is and how best to interact with them.