Your audience should be top of mind with every piece of content you create. Unfortunately, many marketers struggle with the concept of personas. Here are some tips for connecting with your audience in order to deliver the right message at the right time over the right channel – all in a compelling way.

Masks1. What did they just say?

For many marketers, understanding their audience isn’t the problem; instead, the problem is not being able to tailor their content to suit that audience. Writing for international students coming to the United States to study is a lot different than writing to U.S. students looking to travel abroad for a semester of education. Understanding reading levels, language triggers and motivations are crucial to crafting the right tone of voice and the right message (read: value) in your content.

2. I Swear, I Put That Keyword Somewhere…

Despite what you might have heard, search still matters. That means that ultimately, keywords still matter, too. A critical part of marketing is to understand both your target audience and your products and services – and finding the critical juncture in search space where the two meet. Keyword research is important because Google is a search engine, and keywords are the terms it uses to deliver useful returns to its customers. Know what terms your customers search for – it does no good to optimize for “ladies apparel” when the more popular phrase on your website is “women’s clothing.”

3. We Were Hot On Myspace Yesterday!

You know this tune before I sing it. Every marketer has a duty to stay on top of the latest social trends and newest social channels, while staying proficient and prolific in the tried and true channels still in use. Whether you’re just now learning how to use Facebook and Twitter, or becoming a master of Pinterest, StumbleUpon and the mighty (and personal favorite) Google+, take the time to understand the channels your audience use most. Meet them at their playground first, before you invite them to the games on yours.

4. Can you hear me now?

Sometimes companies are speaking to the wrong audience. That’s why we put such an emphasis here at Slingshot on developing relevant personas for any campaign, so we can ensure that any new content will be targeted at the right people. We also perform significant keyword research to understand the search perspective, as well as competitive analysis to see how clients’ competitors are communicating.

Have other questions about writing for your target audience, or how to go after a new one? Tell us what you think and what you’d like to see more of in the comments below.

For some expert tips on how to write for your audience, download our guide to the 5 W’s of Content Creation.

This post was co-written by Dustin Clark and Derek Smith.