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Capturing Your Target Audience

Oct 11, 2007
It's often a hard task in this Information Age to catch the eye of your target audience. If you are fortunate enough to accomplish that much, then you have really achieved something. Whether it's a catchy title, artwork, photograph or a banner on the Web, it really doesn't matter. The bottom line is that it did the job. You got them to look at your material. But what now?

Statistics show that you have about fifteen seconds to lock their attention in with your content or you lose them. How does your target audience respond to your material? Does your content draw them in and catch their interest? Or do they look at it for several seconds, lay it down and go on to next available source of information? Is your web content SEO compatible? Is your keyword word/phrase density the right mix that lets your target audience find your web page via a search engine without being redundant in the body of the text? Is the next click of their mouse to another page on your site or back to the search engine window? All of these are legitimate concerns for anyone in the business of producing content.

The written word is a wondrous thing, but it is absolutely useless if the target audience doesn't read it! The most articulate piece ever written is not effective if it is cumbersome, inaccurate and difficult to find or presented too late. But there is a simple solution:

*Capture your target audience and don't let them go until you are through with them!*

Sounds pretty straightforward and simple enough, right? And it is simple. But never allow yourself to fall into thinking that simple means easy. Picking up a shovel and digging a hole is simple, but seldom easy. The way to capture your target audience is by presenting them with content that they want and need to read. To achieve that end, your content must meet four criteria:

1. Be competent
2. Be concise
3. Be accurate
4. Be on time

Be competent: Content must be well organized, informative and grammatically correct if it is to hold the interest of your target audience. Sentences should come together to form paragraphs that flow into each other as the pages are filled. Content format must match the media being used to convey it; i.e. Internet content should meet density standards for keywords and be SEO compatible, resumes and cover letters should follow accepted formats, articles and essays should contain an introduction, body of text and a conclusion, etc.

Be concise: Filling your content with unnecessary text can be, and often is, a drop-dead deal breaker for many in your target audience. Many readers simply don't have the time or patience to wade through the muck for a tidbit of content. Others become bored if the pace moves along like pond water. Either way, you have failed. And in this game, second place is just the first loser.

Be accurate: No information at all is better than incorrect information. If you hope to win the confidence of your target audience, then you must be accurate in your presentation of the material. Even when writing fiction, you must convince the reader that you know what you are talking about. That your are credible. Never lie to your audience; they will know. The whole thrust of your efforts is to win the trust of your target audience and to be trusted you must be trustworthy.

Be on time: There is not much need to submit your proposal the day after bidding closes or your article after the copy has gone to bed. One thing you can be sure of; the two people less understanding than a college professor about late papers, are employers and customers.

Whether you are writing a report for your employer, a college term paper, a piece for publication or just for fun, I believe you will be well served to follow these four simple rules. Your ultimate objective should be content that is competent, concise, accurate and on time. If you do these simple things then you will have gone a long way towards capturing that all too elusive target audience.
About the Author
Mike Lawson is a freelance writer and entrepreneur running many Internet ventures. Learn more about writing successful content for your articles or website at Appalachian Writer's Forum or Bluegrass Solutions Article Directory .
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