What's the best approach for creating content that will resonate with your target audience? This simple concept will help you nail it every time.
Hi, I'm Bryan Rutberg, the founder and principal of 3C Comms. We are the “customer connection company,” and we're going to talk today about an important thing to keep in mind when you are trying to connect with an audience.
How can you be audience-focused and benefit-led in your communications? Whether you're in Finance or Operations or Sales or Marketing or General Management, when you are crafting a message - typing out the memo or the email, or you're creating a poster to put on the walls, or you are putting together a blog post, or you are getting ready to give the speech of your life, you've got to think about who's in the audience and how are they going to best receive the information you want to deliver.
It’s not about you.
It's not about what you know and what you need them to know.
It's about what they need to know and how they need to receive the message in order to find it understandable and memorable.
Audience-focused: This could be in a small room, if you are a salesperson who is pitching an idea to a group of people, you better know them down to the individual level. Who is the ultimate decision-maker? Who does he or she listen to? Who owns finances? Think about it this way…
What you take to implement the solution that you're offering is to think about the benefit that it’s going to bring when they do implement it. Who is responsible for solving this problem, and what are they going to recommend to the person or group that has to think of all these things before making the final decision?
If it's a larger group, you might have to think more demographically: are you talking with more men or more women? Are you talking with a group that includes kinesthetic learners as well as audio and visual learners? How are you going to create an experience with that audience that gets everybody learning? Whatever it is you want to get across - this is what we mean when we say audience-focused. Where are they right now; and where do you want to take them; and what's the best way to get them there?
I know sometimes you just don't know, so you better be prepared to connect with people visually and with the words coming out of your mouth, the words that you are typing. If you do have the opportunity to get them doing exercises so they have to struggle with the content (because this is what makes things understandable and memorable), the other thing that you need to consider is what are they going to think the point of your material is? What's in it for them?
At heart, humans are selfish. I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean that we think about ourselves a lot; we live in our own heads and know our own life experiences inside and out. This means we look at things through the lens of “What does this mean for me? How well can I interpret it, and what's it going to be going forward?
I talked earlier this week with a representative from a children's museum and we discussed that their audience has few things in mind considering they have an audience of donors, visitors, volunteers, and, ultimately, they are trying to turn more of the people bring their kids to the children's museum into donors. It turns out they knew their audience and the benefits that they discovered worked well for them.
First, as you might expect is the great learning experiences for the kids. Kids come in and they engage with the material of the children's museum, and it builds their young brains. What parent doesn't want that for their kids? The other thing they found that allowed them to be benefit-led and really make people appreciate the children's museum, in addition to the learning, is the role that the children's museum can play as a de facto babysitter.
Parents bring their kids in on a weekday afternoon or sometime on the weekend, and one of the great benefits that they perceive is that it’s a safe environment where the kids can be left to roam free-range and the parents actually get a break. Even if it’s just a couple of minutes where, if they're not ready to fully engage with the kids, or the kids are so engaged they don't even notice the parents aren't there with them for a few moments, the parents can sit down and catch their breath. It's not like they're going out and having a drink and a smoke while the kids are playing – they’re there, but they also appreciate that it's an activity that they don't need to be cheek-to-belt with their kid. In fact, the kid might work and learn better in that type of environment.
The benefits they want to articulate to this particular audience are the one that you might expect: all kids learn, and the one that you don't expect: you as a parent get a break.
Hope that helps – a little bit of insight into an audience-focused, benefit-led approach to what you're trying to say so it actually sticks with your audience (that’s the hard part).