Elance Blog

Targeting Your Audience


Generating content is one thing, but having it resonate with your audience is another. In order to maximize the value of your writing, it's best to target your content for your audience. Wayne Rose, a writer and new face on Elance, gives us his tips on how to target your audience.

You have been sitting at your computer searching through the seemingly endless listings of jobs on Elance, all the while looking for that job that you know beyond any doubt that you are the only one who can do it. Just when you are about to log off and recheck again later, a job catches your eye. You click on the link to view the entire job description, and everything is looking good. The number of articles and the proposed amount of pay match up to your expectations. Even the time of delivery is within reason. You begin to plan how to sell your services to the prospective client because you know this job is for you. There is one thing to do before you start your sales pitch.

Now is when you need to stop and ask yourself, who are the readers of these documents you would be writing? If you cannot answer that question in the early project stages, neither you nor the prospective client may be satisfied with your work.

Targeting your audience may be one of the most important parts of writing. We can have the best grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and mechanics and be impeccable proofreaders yet lose the reader before they complete the page. This holds true whether we are writing children’s books, fiction, non-fiction, business reports, a technical or academic paper, or content for a web site.

Why is this such an important topic, you may ask? It is very simple. When we speak with someone in person, or perhaps on the phone, are we not cognitively aware of whom we are talking to? The only difference between talking with someone and writing, is the face to face interaction versus the reader is reading our words. At least we hope they are reading all of them.

There are entirely too many examples that we could discuss for this small space. Therefore we shall focus on a few key points we should consider before we begin to write.

  1. Who is the primary audience we will be writing?
  2. What is the reader’s purpose for seeking the information we are presenting?
  3. What are the demographics of our intended audience?
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Geographic location
    • Culture
    • Education levels
  4. What is your expected attitude? Or their possible actions/reactions to this information?
  5. Is there an expected action/reaction to the information?

Based on the answers to these questions, we are in a better position to determine a few other factors, such as:

  1. The amount of information we should include.
  2. How much depth we should include.
  3. The amount of research we should do.
  4. Develop an appropriate writing strategy.
  5. How the information will be organized.
  6. Determine wording, style and tone that would best convey the message.

These are a few thoughts for us to consider before putting the proverbial pen to paper. I am sure that many of you have techniques that work for you.

What if we do not know each of these factors? No problem. We just narrow our field based on what information we have available to us at that moment. For example, writing or rewriting news would probably be for a very broad audience, so there is little we can do to adjust for that except to use proper English skills, paraphrase when rewriting articles and cite our sources. Although writing web content for a web site may sound like we would use the same approach as with the news, nothing could be further from the truth as web site audiences can be very narrow and niche communities in many instances.

Marketers and advertisers have been using targeted advertising for years. For example, we are all familiar with Google. When a business runs an advertisement on Google, they are running a targeted advertisement campaign. According to Wikipedia, Google’s total advertising revenue for 2009 was $23 billion. This was primarily for their AdWords segment.

I included the example on Google simply to say that targeting your audience works. One thing that can be overlooked when we write is that we are still talking to another human being even though we are not physically interacting with them. Yet, when we take the time to learn who our target audience is, then we truly begin to interact with them.


About the Author:
Wayne Rose, otherwise known as Wayne_Rose on Elance, is a freelance writer from Johnson City, TN. His background in business and experience as a medical buyer, has given him a variety of insights into how to problem solve as a writer.


Hello and thank you Wayne Rose. This article was very helpful and I totally agree. When you are writing it is important to think of the client and their needs but also to think of the person who will read your article. Congratulations on a very helpful article.

I highly agree with your article about target market or niche. . As a marketing person and a neophyte in the social marketing indrustry, I find online marketing as more scrupulous because marketing is done is the form of writing. Hence, everything is recorded and be used as a reference because it is in black and white incomparable to direct marketing or telemarketing. Writing requires greater responsibility, legally speaking. And as we know, there are several parameters in the marketing world.

Studying and analyzing the market online practiced through my start up website, I feel that marketing with voice, such as face-to-face and on the phone, is more handy because of conversation. I feel that marketing in the form of writing should exert extra interest and need to the target market. Everybody talks but not all are habitual readers.

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One way to know more details about your potential client, whom are planning to address with your proposal is, let your mouse point hover on the icon of your buyer Elance provides on the project page.

The pop-up displays, most of the details that you need. It gives you the details of this potential client's geographical location, their Elance history as to number of projects posted, awarded and payment history. These are the most critical details that you would like to review. It is best to understand your potential client before you submit your proposal.

Thank you Wayne_Rose for your excellent article. :)

Hello Wayne, thanks for sharing such a good article about writing. Really its very interesting and helpful and I will surely follow these steps while approaching for a project. Thank you once again.