To produce an interesting text, a writer must make the necessary effort to understand his audience. Indeed, when writing a document, it is important to take into account the reader's needs, knowledge and feelings. So the more you know about the reader, the better the quality of your written output. This is true regardless of the nature of your article, whether it is a speech, a scientific article, or instructions for loan seekers or people who want to install software. We believe that the suggestions offered in this article can help you analyze your audience and develop a strategy for writing well.
Part 1 of 3: plan the scan
Step 1. Choose the type of audience your article is intended for
In other words, who will read your document? At this point, you can only have a general answer to the question posed and that is the reason why you need to do your target audience analysis. Thus, in view of the results of your analysis, you will have sufficient information to clarify your answer.
- For example, is your item intended for a DIY enthusiast who wants to install shelving? Is it company employees or IT people looking to fix a bug in new software?
- Examine the reasons that make your audience read your article. What task will he help them with or what do they need to know?
Step 2. Determine what will help you know your audience
You will need information to make a useful or compelling document, and this information will vary depending on who will read your article.
- Usually, you will also need to determine the level of knowledge and interest of your potential readers in the issue you are addressing in your document.
- Depending on the audience, the circumstances and the type of document you are going to produce, there are other points that might help you, such as the circumstances under which your document will be likely to be read and demographic factors such as age., education, gender, occupation, cultural background, etc.
Step 3. Determine how to conduct your analysis
Analyzing your audience can be formal, that is, by conducting a survey, using a questionnaire or conducting formal interviews, etc. It can also be informal and rely on broken-down conversations with members of your audience. The best way to proceed will depend on the type of readers you are targeting, the information needed, and the resources available to conduct your analysis.
Sometimes you may be able to have information that another person has already collected, in the form of surveys or marketing studies, which may exempt you from collecting your own data
Step 4. Create your scan tool
This tool will be used to collect your data, for example your questionnaire or your interview questions. The content should be based on the results of your brainstorming session, which will be outlined in the next step.
- Try to avoid questions that guide your participants' answers, even if you are tempted to ask them. For example, "Now that you are convinced of the effectiveness of our product, are you going to buy it?" Or "what do you think of the president's disastrous fiscal policy?" "
- Avoid asking questions to kill two birds with one stone. A question that requires multiple points to be answered at the same time can confuse your participants and lead to imprecise answers. For example, you should avoid asking questions, like "how often do you read scientific articles and share them with other people?" Instead, consider breaking this question down into two like this: "How often do you read scientific documents?" "And" how often do you share scientific documents with other people? "
- If you are using a survey, keep it as simple and succinct as possible.
Part 2 of 3: conducting the analysis
Step 1. Select your sample
Once you have chosen your questions, decide who to ask them. If you don't have the option to involve everyone, you can try selecting a group of people representing the audience you want to analyze.
- For example, if you believe that your readership will be predominantly female, try to take this into account when selecting your sample.
- There are other things that might help you choose your participants, such as their occupations or professions, especially if you are targeting your article to people who practice in a particular field, their ethnicity, the city or neighborhood in which they live or their membership in a particular organization.
- Choosing the most important features will depend on the type of item you are going to produce and the audience you hope to reach.
Step 2. Collect your data
Conduct your survey, interviews or conversations with potential readers.
- If you are conducting a survey, you would probably want to respect the anonymity of your participants, especially if you ask them sensitive or personal questions. This can ensure the sincerity of the answers you get.
- If you are having interviews with your participants, it might be helpful to ask for clarification or additional information, saying things like, "Can you tell me more about this?" Or "why do you think so?" ". At the same time, the way you conduct the interviews can affect participants' responses. So, you need to make an effort to silence your own biases and avoid influencing your participants to respond in a certain way.
- For interviews or informal conversations, it is best to make a recording for future reference, if your participants agree. Be aware that you should never record someone without their permission, as you risk breaking the law.
Step 3. Analyze your data
Now is the time to draw conclusions about your audience, taking a look at the information you have gathered. How informed or interested are your readership about the topic of your article? What is the average age of your sample? What is the proportion who plan to subscribe to the journal you write for?
- If you need to conduct detailed statistical analysis, consider using appropriate software, such as "Stata" or "SPSS". However, these programs are expensive, and software that calculates simple percentages is more than sufficient for the job you are going to undertake. Common software, such as "Excel", can help you organize and analyze your data. Place your questions on the top row of a data sheet, then record participants' responses on the following rows. So you can quickly read the answers you got for each question.
- If your analysis tool contains open-ended questions, ie questions that can be answered in different ways, for example: "What do you think of company X?" ", You will probably be tempted to categorize the answers you get, such as skeptical, hostile, uncertain or positive, so as to determine the opinion expressed by the majority of your participants, for example:" the majority of participants have a bad impression on company X”.
Step 4. Create a profile for your audience
After analyzing your data, consolidate your findings into a single document to reflect the makeup of your readers and their needs. Thus, you will be able to organize your ideas more easily and have an accurate picture of your audience.
Click on this link for a good example of an audience profile
Part 3 of 3: create the document
Step 1. Choose your presentation
Depending on your audience, some presentations may be more appropriate than others. If your employer hasn't told you about this, choose a presentation that works for your audience.
- If your readership is going to read your document to do a certain job, it is best to opt for a technical manual or instruction sheet with bullet points and possibly diagrams.
- On the other hand, if you want to inform specialists about the results of a new research, it is more appropriate to opt for writing an article or a newsletter.
Step 2. Create a plan
Before writing your document, consider making a plan to organize your ideas and structure your content. This method has the advantage of making your document easier to write. In addition, you will be able to verify that you have incorporated all the important information and that your document will be understood by all of your readership.
An outline also allows you to develop a title for the different parts of your document, to make it easier for the reader to identify the main information he needs
Step 3. Announce the tone in which you will write your article
One of the most important aspects of analyzing an audience is choosing the path in which your text will be written, in order to better convince your readers. The choice of words and sentence structure go a long way in getting your point across.
- For example, if your audience is highly educated or is familiar with the topic you are dealing with, you can employ technical vocabulary that can even be very useful. If your audience is not well informed about your topic, avoid using this type of vocabulary.
- Likewise, it is best to keep sentences short and simple, if your audience is likely to read your text while they undertake a specific task or when they operate in a complex work environment. If your audience is going to read your work at home with full attention, you can vary the length and structure of your sentences, to make the reading more compelling and enjoyable.
Step 4. Respond to audience needs and goals
In particular, determine your readers' expectations to include the information they hope to gain from reading your document. Thus, you will know how to present this information for easy access and understanding.
- If your audience is varied, you can write sections to reach a particular category of readers or write in a style that works for your entire audience.
- Likewise, if your audience is diverse, write to meet the needs of the majority who will read your document. Probably, you will need to refer to other sources of information, in order to take into account the needs of the minority.
- The demographics of your readership can help you choose the style and content of your document. For example, age groups, areas of residence, gender and political preferences are potentially important elements. Paying close attention to these elements can help you dodge harsh criticism and points that aren't relevant to your audience or that they don't like.