How often have you had someone tell you – “Please write as per the TA”?
TA? That’s Target Audience. Being professional content writers in Mumbai, you don’t write to please yourself. You write for your TA. TA refers to the end readers who will read your content… for whom the content is intended.
Whether you are a blog writer in Mumbai or New York, whether you are writing a novel or courseware material for colleges, it’s important to remember that you are writing to an audience. Whether it is a generalized group of people or a particular individual, you are always writing for someone.
Hence, by keeping your TA in mind you will be able to make better decisions about the look and feel of your content and how you want it perceived by your readers. Many people think that writing content is merely the placement of words on a page. But the truth is there is a certain standard approach involved, when you engage yourself in writing for your readers. Let’s explore…
How do you determine your target audience?
So how would you know who will read your content? Well most of the times, we usually write for a specific segment, a set of people. Not everyone is the reader, right? If not yet identified, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- People of what age will read my content?
- Will they be children, teenagers, elders or old age people?
- People of what nature will be reading my content?
- Will they be businessmen, general staff, housewives or people with basic/fluent English skills?
- People at what knowledge level will read my content?
- How much knowledge do the readers already have about the topic I’m writing? Are they beginners, intermediate or advanced readers?
- People of what geography will ready my content?
- Am I writing for villagers, urban audience, or a specific country? Each of them would need a different writing style, usage of English, examples, etc.
Ask questions to find out who the reader is, what they do and how they want to be perceived. If you’re not exactly sure who your audience is, ask yourself who you are writing the document for or who is most likely to benefit from what you are writing. Once you know your audience, it is easier to write to their abilities and expectations.
Structure content based on TA
What’s the first thing you would read in a book to figure out the contents? Ideally, the Table of Contents (TOC) would list the main titles covered in a book. So if that’s where the reader starts, that’s where you as a writer should start… makes sense?
Based on the TA identified, outline the amount of content you want to cover and its complexity level. For example, if your TA is identified as a beginner, you may want to include basic concepts and cover basic details. However, if the TA is identified as advanced, you don’t want to bore them with the basics. Get right to the advanced topics that they want to read about. Of course a brief summary of the basics wouldn’t harm. Here are a few tips on how to structure the content:
- Identify what information to include and what to leave out.
- Decide the medium of delivering the content –blog, website, book, e-learning, etc.
- Always start with the easier topics and gradually advance to the complex ones.
- Complete one topic at a time before starting the next. Avoid distributing one topic across multiple headings as it breaks the flow.
Select scenarios and examples based on TA
Would you read a book or article that only provides information and instructions? Well, probably yes, if it is very informative, but it would still be very boring, isn’t it? Useful scenarios and examples can help create interest in the reader and at the same time help them apply the knowledge in real-life situations.
Scenarios and examples can be presented in form of written narratives, visual storyboards or even a video. A scenario or an example is what you would use, to paint a picture that will replicate the intended experience for the reader in the given context.
So, what is it that you need to keep in mind while drafting a scenario? Few simple points:
- Make sure you understand the purpose of the content; then only can you adapt it to different writing situations for different audiences.
- For a general audience, keep the scenario simple and short, so that the basic concept is understood before jumping to next topic. For a more advanced reader, details do matter. The scenario in this case will contain multiple elements to explain the functions and nature of every variable in detail.
- Provide scenarios based on the TA. For example, for a professional, include scenarios of organizations and economy. For children and teenagers, include scenarios that contain day-to-day real life examples.
Use visuals and practical based on TA
Aren’t we all more attracted to pictures and images than sheets of text? While text is of utmost importance, images add a pleasant appeal to the main message.You can help your readers to see the patterns within a data with the help of convincing visuals. You can make use of simple bar charts or even a complicated animation to tell the story you want to tell.
So, you’ll need to consider a few things concerning your audience when you are designing a visual or practical. They are:
- The nature of your TA decides their ability to comprehend the information you will display. A more general audience rather look for a big picture than going for detailed information. On the other hand, if your TA belongs to a more specialist category, extensive data is required to support your overall conclusion.
- Find out the exact requirement of your TA. This is important so that you won’t waste a lot of your time giving somebody the information they don’t need. This also applies in terms of level of complexity you require in the visuals.
- Consider the diverse cultural or similar variables which allows your TA to react to visuals in a particular way.
- For example, don’t use certain symbols if your TA belongs to a culture that may find it offensive.
- Same concept applies to the choice of colour as many individuals react differently to different colours depending on their cultural or religious background.
- Maintain consistency in your visuals in terms of tone and data structuring. Allow a considerable amount of time for each part of your visual, so that the reader can understand it thoroughly.
- Identify if the TA is a beginner or advanced. A beginner level may require more generic pictures, while an advanced audience may need detailed images drawn for the specific purpose.
Word choice based on TA
If you need to draw the attention of your TA, you ought to make them understand the central message within the content. For that, your words should resonate the classic nature of your audience’s demographics.
Get into your audience’s shoes and think like you are the reader. That’s the best way to make your audience understand what is being said. Here are a few pointers that may help selecting the right words:
- Mimic the language of your audience and try to understand the world though their eyes.
- Pay a close attention to your own vocabulary. If writing for a general population, try not to use too many complex or technical terms (jargons). Even when writing for an advanced reader, avoid using intricate terms if not needed, and if you do, explain them in the very next sentence or provide a reference where the reader and check for the meaning.
- It’s so easy for a reader to misunderstand the meaning and therefore your intentions behind a word. Be careful while choosing your words and always maintain your connection with the general context.
- Based on you audience, at times you may need to maintain a conversational tone, while at other times a formal tone is required. However, at all times remain polite.
Write assessments and quizzes based on TA
In order to design an ideal assessment or quiz for your audience, it is imperative for you to identify the details of your audience. This will help you to construct an assessment that would be a definite reflection of the learning outcome you have in mind.
Here are a few simple tips which would help you create the assessments you require and acquire the appropriate response from your readers.
- Set an objective: This involves you figuring out the nature of information you want your audience to acquire and its application in other scenarios. For example, it may not just be the actual data you would want your readers to remember, but also to apply the underlying principle to arrive at the same conclusion that you did. You can make use of bloom’s taxonomy to identify the level at which you want to check the understanding.
- Choose an assessment technique: Understand the method of assessment that would best represent the questions in a simple comprehensive way. You will also have to decide whether the correct response truly meets your expectations in terms of reader’s understanding of the content. You can make use of any of the popular question types, such as multiple choice, true or false, fill in the blanks, scenario based questions, etc. You may also want to provide simulations for your audience to perform some tasks in a near-real world environment.
- Share the results: If you are making your audience take a quiz, be sure to share the final results with them. This is in tune with the basic idea of generating interest among the readers and simultaneously motivating them to pay more attention.
While you write for your TA, maintain enough familiarity for your audience but at the same time, infuse small portion of your own personality into the content. This will help you make an impression on every reader, as they just might find you too interesting to ignore the next time you write something.