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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Who Cares: Writing for Groups and People in Categories (Technique)

Targeting a known audience is a traditional marketing technique, history and culture comes in many forms.

Writing to a targeted audience, either a targeted group or a broad audience with targeted message is a fundamental marketing technique. It's a good starting point in content marketing creation (design and planning as well.) We all have our own interests, preferences and values. We share them with a few other people, sometimes not people close to us geographically. Talking and "listening" to people's conversations is a normal way to interact. If you tap into this simple behavior with a targeted group, tell them something they want to hear, you have a starting point in getting people to care. 

Defining a targeted group or specific message is useful in getting started. Then you can refine the direction of your writing with feedback. You can also explore different messages and eventually optimize for best results. The first case, targeted groups, are simply groups which have a common interest, trait or value. The second case is a specific (narrow) message in a bigger general group. This case is similar to traditional advertising. Although effective, most advertising does not attempt to speak to everyone. Even popular products like soft drinks do not have relevancy to most people who see the advertisement. The first case is similar to direct mail advertising (junk mail). If you sign up for a newsletter or a publication (magazine), your name will be of interest to many who sell products which are relevant to the publication's readers. 

Interest groups like clubs and professional organizations are a good model to see and learn from categorizing of content. Specialty groups are a prototype of how to define and present messages. A sports fan club is not only interested in the games, players, league gossip. They are interested in hotels and travel to away games. They are interested in sports bars where they can watch other games (not just "their team" or even their league). They are interested in discussions and commentary, not even just on TV. Eventually, products such as clothes and food (i.e. beer and game time snacks) enter into their scope of interest. This simple examples is well developed and anyone watching a game, reading a sport fan's blog or watching a clip of a scoring run on YouTube can easily analyze. Apply this example to your field of interest, even to commercial or industrial products, and you have the basics of targeted marketing content. In most cases the people who care about beer and snacks in "the sports bar" need to care about the game, the players and who scores. First find them, they sell the beer. It is much easier to get people who care to read your review than the people who only want to buy the beer for other reasons.