Business Writing – Do You Know Your Reader and How to Attract Their Attention?

I’ve written before about the importance of understanding your audience (you might have seen my blog Why Its Important to Focus on Your Reader). So how do make sure you know who you’re writing for? And how can you use that information to get their attention?

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know

Understanding your product or service is only one step in selling it… if we don’t know what our potential client is looking for, how will we convince them we can help? Going into a restaurant – will the server recommend the steak or the salad? (Or the big chocolate pudding?)

We might have more than one potential customer of course, at our restaurant we might need dishes which will appeal to the whole family. And this is a great example… anyone who’s eaten in a family restaurant will recognise that the children’s menu is presented very differently to the adult menu.

Children will be given the opportunity to scribble and play, their food is often given imaginative names and descriptions, even if the food itself is very similar to that presented to their parents. Even on the standard menu, you might find the language and pictures used to describe the food vary across the menu – the fresh, crunchy, vibrant images and language used to describe the salads won’t be reflected for the sumptuous, decadent desserts.

So, who are you helping?

One of my ideal clients is Liz – she’s an experienced and successful business owner, she’s knowledgable and helpful and knowing how to write isn’t her problem. Liz wants to work with a copywriter because she understands the value of sharing her knowledge but doesn’t have time to spend writing because she’s too busy working with her clients.

When I communicate with Liz I don’t need to discuss the importance of getting her message out – she already knows that. I tell Liz how she can reach out further to help more people, focus on other things and enjoy more free time.

And you?

Who benefits most from your service? And what does that benefit look like to them?

  • You might be providing an office space which is actually a desk away from distractions…
  • Your bouquets are an opportunity for customers to show mum they remember her favourite flower…
  • The websites you develop will bring your clients new customers and look fantastic online…

So, who do you want to work with? Sell to? Talk to?

I have more than one ideal client, and because of that I have different audiences for my communications. This post isn’t necessarily useful to Liz because she’s already worked out her ideal client and what they’re looking for. This post is for Rebecca.

Rebecca is also a successful business woman, she also has a lot of useful information to share but she’s earlier in her business journey and still developing her message. While Rebecca is an expert in her field she’s new to business and sometimes lacks confidence; when she talks to you about her chosen subject – massage therapy – she’s inspiring, but when faced with a blank page she gets a little lost.

I love working with Rebecca’s too… Rebecca is working to build regular communication with her network and be more confident in what she puts out there, I can work with Rebecca to understand what her audience is looking for and give her ideas how to make the whole writing process less daunting. (If you know any Rebecca’s – or Liz’s – feel free to send them my way!)

You see, whether it’s a blog post, a newsletter, a website page or social media post, you don’t need everyone who sees it to react – you just have to make sure that the reader you’re looking for recognises that this communication is for them.

How do you do that?

In all of your communications, ask yourself why anyone would bother to read it.

There are people who are struggling with writing for their business and getting the message to the right people; identifying their audience will be a useful step to helping them with that process. This is the blog to help them!

So, once you’ve decided who you’re talking to, make a promise to your reader. It might be a promise of information, help or even entertainment – if it’s what your reader needs right now, there’s nothing wrong with just giving them the chance to relate to a story and get to know you better.

Once you’ve made that promise, you just have to keep it.

Signing up to your regular newsletter might come with the promise of handy photography tips or news of the latest trends, if that’s what your reader signed up for make sure you deliver it.

In marketing there used to be a lot of talk about pain points. Identify your readers ‘pain’ and show them how you can fix it. There’s still something in that, but more importantly can you identify a way to create joy?

Yes, I can take away the stress of a blank page – but isn’t it more appealing to promise an interested and engaged audience, a network who are informed and feel connected to you and the clients who will come from that?

  • An evening with family after a productive day is a more positive picture than the distracted, frustrated image of the worker at home.
  • A happy mum with her stunning floral arrangement is a more affirmative message than the stressed son who doesn’t know how to say thank you.
  • A pile of packaged orders to new customers is an appealing image compared to the negative associations of an empty order book.

What will your reader want to hear? Remember, it’s not just about what you want to tell them but how it’s going to help them.

To get your reader’s attention you need to be aware of what they are looking for.

If you struggle to write for your business, thinking about the individuals you want to help or inform is a great way to get past that block. Imagine you were meeting someone for coffee who wanted this information – what would you tell them?

I hope this has been useful to you.

If there are elements of your business communication you struggle with I’d be happy to help you so drop me a line or leave a comment below.