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It has never been harder to win your audience’s attention. Back in 2015, Microsoft published a study that claimed the human attention span had shrunk to just eight seconds—one second shorter than a goldfish.

That claim might not stand up to proper scientific scrutiny, but it does have a ring of truth. Anyone who has a smartphone has probably caught themselves absent-mindedly checking Twitter while they are supposed to be doing something else. There’s a fairly good chance that’s how you ended up reading this blog.

The truth is, it’s not just that attention spans are getting shorter, it’s that people are more discerning about what they surrender their attention to. People are being bombarded in all directions—and their time is short. It is little wonder people seem easily distracted. 

Yet if you are actually interested in what you are consuming, then chances are you will pay attention. The key, then, is creating content that your audience cares about—and to do that, you first need to understand who your audience is.

Know your audience

Remember that old saying? To assume makes an Ass out of U and Me. If you just guess who your audience is, then you risk creating content that is at best ignored, or at worst, savagely lampooned on social media (Hi, Peloton!). Content that chimes with your audience, therefore, doesn’t happen by accident—it happens because you have taken the time to research exactly who your audience is. For instance, what are their challenges and pain points? What are their likes and dislikes? What motivates them? What do they want to do better? Don’t scrimp on this intel gathering stage—invest in customer surveys or data analytics tools if you need to. By mapping out who your audience is and taking the time to understand their interests and problems, you can produce engaging, relevant and valuable content that your readers will relate to, helping to build trust and expand your influence.

Be focused

Ok, so you’ve discovered more about your audience and what makes them tick. The next step: don’t treat them like a homogenous lump. Content that is produced to increase brand awareness in a new market will be aimed at a different audience than content that is trying to cross-sell other services to an existing client. Why does this matter? Because content that attempts to speak to too many people in one hit will lack a clear and coherent message, and risk confusing your audience. According to the annual LexisNexis InterAction Law Firm Marketing and Business Development survey, this so-called ‘boiling the ocean’ approach can have a negative impact on business development because BD teams end up having to chase too many different opportunities at once. In other words, you need to have a focused strategy. By carefully segmenting your audience, you can micro-target your content and ensure it is reaching the right people.

Speak their language

Good news—we’re on the home stretch. But before you start committing pen to parchment, there’s one final thing you need to do: making sure your brand’s tone of voice will resonate with your audience. This is important because much of the advice around tone of voice focuses on how it should reflect your brand and its values. Of course, your tone should reflect your brand’s values, but it’s pointless speaking in a voice that jars with the people you want to engage—Harley Davidson might not sell quite as many new motorbikes if they started speaking to their customers in a way that resembles a politician droning on about tax regulations. So when you’re developing your tone of voice, think about how your audience speaks, the language they use, and the way they communicate. If you can capture that—while at the same time echoing your brand’s values—you can develop a distinct tone of voice that will help your brand stand out and ensure your content is consistent across all channels. 

Next steps…

Everybody is fighting for your audience’s attention; we want to make sure they are listening to you. Speak to Pensar Media today and find out how we can help you create content that your audience will care about—in a voice that speaks directly to them.