Drinking With Sailors, Dinner With Grandma. Should You Write Differently For Your Audience?

Last time on the blog I explained how important it is to understand the common glue that binds your perfect customers together. In this post I’m going to look at how you write to those people when you figure that out.

Grandma tried to look bored. She couldn't wait for the family to bugger off so she could hit Sporty's bar for happy hour with the gang.

Photo courtesy of abrao

Recently I was chatting with Colleen Wainwright (aka Communicatrix) about marketing, finding your message and what kind of omelet she should have for breakfast.

 

The omelette decision was most important.

Whilst talking about marketing, and in particular writing your marketing message we discussed how we need to write in a slightly different style depending on who we are writing to.

Now, if you run a business and you do the writing for that business you might be thinking:

“But I’m just me, I’m not going to change, I’m just going to say what I want to say and people will either like it or not”

And there is some truth in that. There’s definitely no point pretending to be someone you’re not, but when it comes to copywriting, being aware of your audience helps you “adjust” your writing in a way that builds a stronger connection to your audience. You really don’t want to be generic, vague and fluffy, which is the no-flavour competitor cereal for Snap, Crackle and Pop…

Shots With Sailors, Soup With Grandma

Colleen put it perfectly when she told me that every day we flex different sides of our personality.

We act differently if we’re drinking with sailors than we would if we were visiting grandma. And writing to your customers is exactly the same.

You wouldn’t turn up to your grandma’s house slamming down shots and swearing because  it would probably harm the relationship you have with your grandma who you love as dearly as those sailors…

You’re still you, you’re just showing common courtesy for the company that you’re keeping at the time.

How This Affects Your Writing

Early on you need to decide what kind of relationship you want to have with your customers because the relationship you establish on your blog and in articles is an important factor to consider when you then move on to writing sales copy

So some things to think about:

  • Will you swear?
  • Will you share details of your personal life?
  • Will you joke around or provide serious information only?
  • Will you write short blog posts or lengthy ones
  • Will your sales copy be lively and bubbly, or more like a newspaper editorial?
  • Will you write as if you’re writing to a respected colleague or a drinking buddy?

When you’re making this decision, think about:

  • What you are comfortable writing and sharing
  • What is going to make your perfect customer comfortable

Ideally there should be an overlap between your personality and their personality (you wouldn’t want to work with someone you couldn’t stand would you?).

Let me know in the comments if you struggle to find your “professional” voice for your clients (I’ve got some great materials coming up to help you with that).

And don’t forget to register to get the blog posts to your inbox because you’ll find out first when my full conversation with Colleen is released (and we don’t just cover marketing, we’ve got fashion tips in there for networking in too tight shoes  – don’t miss it).

Comments

  1. Great advice Amy. It is crucial to write for your audience. I run into this all the time as a lawyer. Many of my fellow lawyers can’t break legalese down into understandable plain English.

    • harrisonamy says:

      Hey!Awesome point Fred. It’s like they say, quite often on blogs you’re not writing for your peers, you’re writing for your customers and they are probably 2 different audiences completely.

  2. I think its of the utmost importance to tailor your writing depending on who you are writing for and with the audience in mind, completely.
    For example if you’re writing an introductory guide on a topic, say teaching English as a foreign language, it would be inadvisable to jump in with acronyms such as TEF, TESOL or CELTA before explaining what they are and what each of these mean. However, where you writing towards an audience who had years of experience in these fields then taking time out to describe what each of these were would be a profligate waste of the readers’ time.

    I think, with regards to a post’s tone, you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head with your “dinner with grandma, drinking with sailors argumennt tho”

    • harrisonamy says:

      Hey Kieron – thanks for your comment.

      Avoiding jargon, or industry terms that beginners might not understand is a really important point. Sometimes we get so steeped in our own business we forget what it’s like to read our content with fresh (and beginner) eyes.

  3. I think this is one of the best titles to a post that I have read online since I started to blog four months ago!

    The content was valid and very necessary considering all the talk about keeping it real, swearing, and talking like you would.

    My blog is about generating a perception of who I am to the people that I want to influence with seriously good value products that help them.

    I haven’t launched this future business site, but my blog is the voice of it, so It needs to be professional while being personal.

    Thanks for a good site well done and with content that shines.
    I will be back.
    Billy

    • Oh! the site is coming in August and I though I could mention that. Billy

      • harrisonamy says:

        Hey Billy, it’s a pleasure to have you round these here parts.

        Glad you liked the title! Finding that balance between personal professional can be tricky, but “personal” really just means “personable”. Just as you would be with clients in real life, you can be that way on your blog.

        let us know how you get on!

  4. harrisonamy says:

    Hi Stan,

    I can imagine the grin :-)

    You make a great point and I think it’s important to know that your blogging crowd isn’t always your client crowd. I know some of my clietns have come through my blog, but just as many have never read my blog and don’t spend their time reading blogs.

    But with any writing you do, you can’t help but inject your personality in there, it just depends how much, and what the angle is.

  5. My blog is “unofficial” for good reason. I write how I want and about what I want to write about. Ok, I try. Sometimes, I succeed. Sometimes, I don’t. I’m not trying to pick up clients through my blog, but I do hope to connect, share, and relate through my blog.

    How I would address a client about their needs, goals, and vision is a different matter entirely. I’ve been writing proposals for a long time and I have that bad ass grin that confirms the millions that I’ve won with those proposals. It’s unfortunate, you can’t see it right now. [grin]

    I do worry about aspiring professional bloggers. Because, often what resonates with a crowd (rants, etcetera), is not what wins and influences the decision-making client that can write a check for $5,000 (or more) for you to start on the job. Obviously, the exception is when the follow and fan army is at such a magnitude (millions) that a business-minded person can simply shrug off most of their cautions and hesitations.

    My humble two cents.

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