Writing for your audience may sound more like an English major’s class than something an insurance agent should care about. But as part of marketing your business and selling policies, insurance agents often need to write everything from client emails to website copy to blog posts. To do so effectively, you need to start by writing for your audience.
If you can learn to identify and appeal to your audience through the topics and style they connect with, you can often improve the effectiveness of your writing. You don’t need to study the dictionary or learn elegant ways to structure sentences just to create good content. As long as you can share ideas that your audience cares about, and do so in a way they like to consume content (e.g., writing long blog posts vs. Tweets), you’re on the right track.
In this guide to writing for your audience, we’ll explore areas like:
- Why it’s important to know your audience
- How to identify your audience
- How to find topics to write about for your audience
- Delivering your content in a way that appeals to your audience
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Knowing Your Audience
Before you start writing for your audience, you need to know your audience. Knowing your audience means that you have at least a general understanding of the types of people reading your content based on factors like:
- Experience with the topics you write about
It can also mean knowing who you’d like your audience to be if you don’t currently have much of an audience or if you want to go in a new direction.
Why Is It Important to Know Your Audience?
Knowing your audience is important because, going forward, it helps you create content that resonates with them.
Suppose you know your audience primarily consists of young e-commerce business owners on the East Coast of the U.S. who are new to risk management. You wouldn’t then be writing for your audience if you write about the intricacies of accounting for the risk of wildfires destroying property in California. You would instead find topics your audience cares about, like how e-commerce stores can prepare for the risk of shipping delays due to hurricane season. And since they’re new to risk management, you would try to include simple explanations and clear language meant for a beginner.
Identifying Your Audience
Understanding why it’s important to know your audience is only part of the equation. You then need to actually go about determining your audience so you can start writing for your audience. Doing so can be part science and part art.
On the science/analytics side, look at who’s consuming your content now, such as by looking at your website traffic stats through an app like Google Analytics. That can give you a general overview of your audience demographics, including how that might differ for, say, your home page traffic vs. specific blog articles.
To dig deeper, look at information such as who’s engaging with your social media posts. See if you notice a pattern in the type of person who’s liking or commenting on your posts. Are they executives in manufacturing, marketing associates, students, etc.?
Next is where the art comes in. The data may show you one thing, such as if students are the ones engaging with your social media content. But that doesn’t mean that’s who’s primarily interacting with your content through other channels like search, nor is it necessarily who you want to be focusing on if you want to sell commercial insurance policies.
That’s why you should also think about areas like:
- The profile(s) of your current customer base
- The profile(s) of your competitors’ customer bases
- The types of customers you ideally would like to have
After thinking about these areas, you can identify the audience you should be writing for. Maybe you’re currently drawing in small business owners, but perhaps you’ve identified an opportunity to go after executives at mid-size companies, so that can be the audience you write for.
Or maybe you’ve already done well attracting clients at mid-size professional services firms, like accountants and consultants. They may not be consuming your content online yet, because you’re not writing with this audience in mind. But if you create more content aimed at them, you can draw in more clients with a similar profile.
Appeal to Your Audience With the Right Content Topics
Once you’ve identified the audience you want to write for, you need to figure out what content topics would appeal to your audience. In addition to writing about the general areas that align with your audience — such as writing about online sales if you’re writing for an audience of e-commerce professionals — you can also start writing for a specific audience by doing the following:
Review Past Content
Take a look at how your past content has performed. Did one email marketing newsletter perform much better than others? Do certain blog posts get much more traction on social media than others? See if you can identify what made certain content stand out. Perhaps you’ll notice that writing for your audience means focusing on topic areas like customer experience or sales if content in these areas has typically performed better than others.
Conduct Keyword Research
Another way to find content topics that will appeal to your audience is to conduct keyword research with your audience in mind. You won’t necessarily know the profile of who’s searching for these keywords, but it can give you a general direction to go in. Look for keywords that have strong search volume while also applying to your audience. For example, you might find local keywords, like “hiring in [X city or state]” that you can create blog posts around if your audience is mostly local.
Analyzing conversations, both online and offline can also help you with writing for your audience. For example, you might find that your ideal audience talks a lot about employee experience on social media. So, you might be able to appeal to your audience by creating blog posts or email marketing newsletters on that subject.
Think about what you’re hearing in client conversations too. If you can identify common pain points among your clients, that can help you think of topic ideas to write about.
Writing for Your Audience Based on Style
In addition to knowing your audience and researching content topics to appeal to your audience, it’s also important to consider the way you deliver your content. This can include both the style of your writing, such as if you write in a casual way or with a more academic tone, as well as how you structure your content, like by creating whitepapers vs. email marketing newsletters.
Adapt Your Writing Style for Your Audience
To adapt your writing style for your audience, you can apply similar techniques to what you would do to find content topics. Take a look at what’s performed well in the past. Do you have a certain style that’s performed better than others? Also, look at what competitors are doing. If another insurance agent with a similar audience is gaining traction by writing articles that are more lighthearted than serious, perhaps you can do the same when writing for your audience.
Choose the Writing Formats That Appeal to Your Audience
Lastly, consider the writing formats that appeal to your audience. You may have a great topic idea, but if your audience isn’t on social media, for example, then sharing that idea with a Facebook post won’t work. Or, if your audience seems to ignore long whitepapers, then it doesn’t really matter how great your whitepaper content is. You need to find the format that they want to engage with.
Again, see if you can spot differences based on past content you’ve put out. You also may have to go through some trial and error. If you have a great topic, you could try writing a blog post for your audience, as well as chopping that content up into several social media posts and sending out a similar email newsletter, for instance. See what works best so you can start writing for your audience in a way that gets them to engage more.
Writing for Your Audience Makes a Difference
Following these tips on writing for your audience can help you get more out of your content. The more you can know your audience, including who they are, what they want to consume, and how they want to consume it, the more effective your writing can be. Also, keep in mind how your content connects to your overall business. You may currently have an audience that follows you on social media, but if these aren’t people who can likely become customers, you may need to adapt your content for a new audience that fits your ideal customer profile.