For some people it comes naturally, for others, they have to work a little harder at it. But writing for a specific audience is a crucial skill to have as a copywriter, and there are some easy steps you can do to aid you in this.
The first step when you receive your brief from the client, is to ask yourself, who am I selling this product or service to? For me, this is the most crucial step. If I’m selling boys’ shoes, I am not going to send the client descriptive content full of prosy jargon or unknown adjectives. Sorry, that’s just not going to sell small, leather shoes with superheroes on them. Especially not to savvy parents looking for the best bang for their buck until the next growth spurt. When you understand who you’re selling this product or service to, then you’re going to do some research on that market. What do they like? What are they in to? Why would they specifically want this product/service? How can you, as the writer, make them want this product even more? If they’re on the fence about it, what can you do draw or deepen their attention? This are all important questions to ask yourself. I’ve found it very helpful to write down answers to these questions as you brainstorm. It helps to begin the process of specifying your writing to that audience.
When I reflect on my own experience, this process would have been very helpful when I was a freshmen in college. I had no idea, really, how to write a proper academic research paper or how to reach specific audience. I recall just sort of reading a book, getting some quotes and putting in a conclusion. And somewhere in the middle have a point or an argument to defend. Since you don’t take Writing for Academia 101 as a freshman, or really at any point in your college career, you sort of “learn on the job.” I only wish I had the floppy disk (yes, that long ago when personal computers were not mandatory on campus) that had my first semester paper on Cicero’s Nature of the Gods to read today. I cringe just thinking about it, but at the same time would love to see it to know just how far I came once I got the hang of writing for an audience. I was most likely writing in the style of a high school theme, or worse, a diary entry. You’ll be happy to know that yes, I do at least still have the marked up copy of the text. Something about the who are the gods and what does religion mean, right? I do love Cicero’s title, however, and I’m sure there’s a writing style out there directed towards the gods. That would certainly be quite an audience.
Anyway, I digress. The point of my awful paper on Cicero was that I learned there is a right and wrong way to write for academic professors. It entails more research and backing up the point of your paper and less going on about what your personal opinion is. Just as there’s a right and wrong way to write for children, the tech industry, adults, and businesses. Now, after you’ve got some answers to those questions, start to really try to understand that demographic or that age group or market etc. What do they like? What moves them? What is the best way you can get this product or service to them? If you’re opening a new restaurant, you want to reach a broad audience. So, think about who makes up this audience. Lots of different people, and your writing should reflect that. (Side note: when it comes to the means in which your audience views or sees your ads, that should be diverse, budget allowing. Would septuagenarians rather get wind of it via a flyer, or a post on Twitter? Same goes for millennials.) Now if you’re writing content for a technical blog regarding the pros/cons of SAP software for an engineering firm, that would entail a very different voice.
What this muddles down to is ask questions about who exactly will be reading what you’re writing. Once you know that, put your writing skills to use and tell that audience why your client’s product/service is for them. As long as you’re not trying to go above your station and advertise to the gods, you should be fine.