Who are the Right People?

Last time I listed several approaches to driving the right people to your website.  Before I describe these approaches in more detail, I shall ask: who are the right people?

Knowing your market will inform the decisions you make about how you drive traffic to your site.  There are lots of helpful tools but remember you are communicating with human beings.  No tool can do that for you.  Tools facilitate communication but they don’t do it.

I remember when I was a child, we used to tease my mother because she had a telephone voice.  I’m sure many people have heard friends or family who sound completely different when they are on the phone.  My mother wished to project a certain image when she used the phone.

Was she right?  It depends.  One school of thought is you need to be authentic, to be yourself.  Certainly, being natural in your communication helps build relationships.  On the other hand first impressions count.  Being laid back may be one of your endearing qualities in real life.  I’m not convinced it is always a positive online.

The term avatar is used online in two different ways.  They can be images (sometimes animated) generated by software that give you an online identity.  The other usage is in marketing, where avatars are your imaginary customers.

It helps to know what the people you are writing for are like.  I find my avatars emerge slowly as I write for them.  Other people are able to imagine elaborate avatars in advance.

You’re using online media to communicate, not with a machine but a real person.  Remember one person opens and reads your emails.  Usually this person is someone you have not met and so their avatar stands in for them.  They are an imaginary friend and you need to write to them as you would to a real life friend.

So, try to write your content (blog post, email, website, social media …) as if you are writing to a friend.  You won’t get it right for everyone but if you have one or more avatars they will help you find the right tone for your writing.

‘I bumped into my imaginary friend the other day.  Haven’t seen him for 50 years.  He’s put on weight.’

One way to improve your writing is to invite comments on your content.  This will help you to assess the impact of your writing.  So, invite comments and respond to them. Here are my invitations for this post but feel free to comment on whatever you like.

How do you communicate online with people you haven’t met?  Does online media help or hinder?  What are the pitfalls?

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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