Writing is a crucial skill for communications professionals, especially when it comes to communicating your organization’s key messages. But in order to be effective, the materials you put out have to appeal to your audience, in a way that meets your organization’s goals.
Writing what the audience wants to hear.
Many organizations create brilliantly crafted stories about their history and where they came from, which are great but may not necessarily reflect what the audience needs to know in order to make business decisions. Ultimately, your customers are people who are busy and have a lot going on. They want to be able to understand your message quickly and easily.
People need to be able to access the information about your company that is important to them. Basically, they want to know why it is relevant to them and why they should care. You could talk for days about your company history but that does not necessarily mean that your customer cares. Instead, spend some time evaluating your customer’s past interactions with your business and start creating messages that make it clear to them what is important for their purposes. What is your value-add for them? Why should they choose your product or service and do business with you? Make sure you not only tell them that, but that you lead with that in your communications – to borrow from journalists, don’t bury the lede. In business, the people you’re trying to sell to likely have limited time or attention, so you have to make the most out of the communications you are putting in front of them.
Writing what the audience wants to hear simply means thinking about their priorities and making it easier for them to find what they need. Think about the service you are providing and then think about why that matters to the audience and put that information first.
Writing from their perspective.
Customers may not share the same level of understanding about your business as you do. It is important to remember that when you are creating messages for your customers. You will need to include context and details that may feel redundant to you but will go a long way in reinforcing with your customers why they should care about the messages you send. For example, your end users might be a highly technical group, but the decision makers are not. Or they might just want the end result, and don’t necessarily want to know the technicalities around how you get them there.
The customer’s perspective is different from the internal view, and examining what that is will help your customers understand better. The key to this is to make it simple. Your communications must strike a balance where you show your expertise, but not overload them with information that they don’t need to know. This gives you a better chance that the message will land with your prospective customer.
Writing where they are.
Knowing what platforms your customers use to engage with your business is a major factor in connecting with the audience. You want to make it as easy as possible for the audience to find the information they need and that includes having it available to them on the platforms they already know how to use.
When you write for the platform the audience is already using they are much more likely to engage with your content, as that might be part of the reason why they are already on that platform. It saves them the extra work of having to go between platforms to get the information they need.
Finding out where your audience is can be done in a number of ways including looking at who’s following or visiting your newsletters, social media, and website. Once you know which platforms have good engagement rates, you can then write the content with that platform in mind.
You should also adjust your writing for the platform. Your audience likely doesn’t have time to read long LinkedIn posts on their timeline. You might consider writing a LinkedIn article instead, or linking to a blog post. One-pagers or leave-behinds might need to be more concise but need to include topline information that they can review, and contact you to learn more.
Wrap it up.
Creating messaging that lands with the audience is a bit of an art and science all wrapped into one. Crafting content with the audience at the top of mind will help you be successful in reaching the audience. Regardless of the platform, it’s also always a good idea to provide a call to action on your written communications.
If writing is not your strength (don’t worry we get it), we have a whole team of communications professionals who are experts at storytelling and creating the perfect message. Reach out to us to see how we can help you with all of your marketing needs.