If you’re writing for the Web, you want to meet people who will read your blog, follow you on Twitter, buy your services or otherwise improve your conversion rate.
So before your fingers hit the keyboard, it’s wise to spend some time thinking about just who you want to meet. This may sound like common sense, but if you read all those people who write mostly about themselves or their services, you’ll realize how uncommon it actually is.
Your ideal reader will do more than skim your post or page. She will read it through and give it the attention it deserves. Court her and she may convert, though probably not right away.
You probably already have a pretty clear idea of your ideal customer. Maybe you even have scads of research on your market niches. That’s a good start.
But to get to know your ideal reader, you have to go beyond gender, age, education, income and other demographic factors.
You have to dig deep, imagining pains and problems, pass-times and passions. What keeps your ideal reader up at night? What makes him jump for joy? What prompts her to pull out her credit card?
What motivates him at a subconscious level? Looking strong in front of his peers? Proving to her mother that she can do it?
If you can’t afford qualitative research to probe the minds of your ideal reader, simply think about similar people you know well. If you’re a student of human nature, it should not be much of a leap to paint a picture of your ideal reader.
By adding this more intimate, hypothetical layer to your objective customer data, you’ll know what terminology, examples, humor, questions and other elements he will understand, relate and respond to. You’ll be in a much better position to connect with your ideal reader and like-minded people.
Some people need to visualize their ideal reader, with good looks, deep pockets or whatever else motivates them. Tape a photo or drawing to your wall if that helps.
Once you are clear about who you want to meet, you can decide what you want to say. Only then can a meaningful conversation begin.