Published: 28 April 2011

Let’s start at the very beginning

We’ve been blogging a lot recently about what makes online communications effective. One of the most striking conclusions I’ve come to is that no matter what the medium, the place you need to start is similar.

Because whether you’re tweeting, blogging, writing an e-newsletter or a web page, the question you must always ask yourself before you begin is: Who are you writing for?

The answer is not ‘the person who asked you to write the blog/tweet/email/web copy’. And even though a blog is a kind of diary, it shouldn’t be written for you either.

In each case, you need to think carefully about the target audience. What do you know about them? What do they want to know? What are they interested in? What do you want to tell them?

Think about people you know who are typical of the target audience. If your organisation’s biggest group of supporters is women aged 40-60, think of someone you know who fits the profile. Picture them as clearly as you can and keep them in mind as you write. It will help you strike the right note and find the right tone.

Of course, you may not know a great deal about your target audience. You may have some basic information about gender, age etc but that might be about all. Don’t let this hold you back: if it is, you can carry out some simple research very cheaply – you really don’t have to have a mega budget to uncover relevant and useful information about your audience.

I’d recommend a recent resource from Public Zone which explains very simply and clearly how to do this – you can download it from: http://www.publiczone.co.uk/whats-happening/user-research-handbook/

If you’d like to know more about making your online communications as effective possible, read our recent blogs at: http://www.charitybuzz.net/


Sue Fidler, Sue Fidler Ltd

Sue Fidler runs Sue Fidler Ltd, an e-consultancy which provides high quality, reasonably priced web development and ICT consultancy for the not for profit sector. Follow them on Twitter @suefidler or on facebook.com/suefidler.