Why It Is Critical To Write To Your Audience

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I was fortunate to present a seminar on LinkedIn last week to an amazing group of people.  One of the greatest aspects of this experience was the understanding by the leadership of the opportunities and value with LinkedIn as a marketing tool for each individual while supporting the organization as a whole.

 

When discussing the composition of a profile I was speaking to the point of writing directly to your target market.  That is when a bit of fear came across a few faces.  The sentiment that was expressed was, in a nutshell, I don’t want to exclude anyone – I want to make sure I am open to anyone wanting to do business.

 

No you don’t.

 

One of the attendees joked in his introduction that he was a jack of all trades, master of none.  Writing in any form of business communication portrays you in this manner.  “I can help anyone at any time with any thing.”

 

In business that does not always come across in the appropriate way, unfortunately it can come across more often than not as one word: desperate.  I will take any business, just please give me business.

 

It is important to not only identify your target market but to speak directly to them for three critical reasons:

 

 

  1. 1.   It demonstrates your expertise
  2. 2.   It establishes your voice
  3. 3.   It engages your target audience

 

 

Demonstrating Your Expertise

 

Speaking in specifics demonstrates how you have set yourself apart from others in your field – and you are leading the pack.  In the insurance and human resource fields there is a title that is commonly used: Generalist. Within the industries these terms are understood in their role.

 

For insurance it is an agent that can represent several types of insurance rather than focusing only on one or more.  In HR it is an individual that performs several roles including recruitment, hiring, screening, assisting with policies/procedures and maintaining corporate/compliance filing.

 

They are defined roles.

 

The dictionary defines a generalist as: “A person competent in several different fields or activities.”

 

Now let’s take that definition from the perception of those outside the industries.  Competent.  If I am spending money I certainly want someone who is much more than competent.  I want an expert.

 

A generalist can be translated by a prospect as just that: general.  Not a specialist, not an expert, not fully competent, not experienced enough to handle the complexities of high net worth individuals or situations.

 

Even though using the term generalist in your profile will resonate with those in your industry, it may be eliminating your prospects because they do not understand what it is you do.  Internally you can be a great resource because of your broad based knowledge and that is communicated with the term Generalist; externally your message is not the same.

 

Establishing Your Voice

 

When you read a novel you form pictures in your mind of the characters based on the words presented.  It is the same when someone reads your LinkedIn profile, business biography or resume.  It is important to write your profile in manner that utilizes words that represent you while speaking from the client perspective.  When the profile sounds like you there is alignment when that prospect speaks to you either in person or over the phone.

 

Without this alignment the prospect is left wondering, “which one are they?”  Are you the profile or the person in front of them or on the other end of the phone?  If there is confusion it opens the door to doubt, which makes it much more difficult to establish a connection.

 

Writing to your market in your voice establishes the tone for all future communications.  They know what to expect.  When that is confirmed in person or by phone establishing trust and a relationship can begin.

 

Engaging Your Target Market

 

Speaking to your audience, expressing their concerns and how you provide solutions and insight is critical.  They need to see themselves in your message, they need to understand that you get them.  Address their needs, their expectations, their challenges.  Take it a step further demonstrating that you provide the appropriate, cost-effective, benefit driven solution.

 

This will engage them for two reasons: they can see themselves in your message, they feel understood.  Secondly, they can then be more open to understanding the benefits, value and costs meaning they are more willing to move forward confidently.

 

My personal LinkedIn profile is written for my resume/LinkedIn clients.  I included the two most popular phrases I hear the most from my clients.  This immediately resonates with prospects.  I speak in a clear, straightforward manner, which is consistent with my in-person communication.

 

I then go on to explain, in a simple formula, my philosophy and approach followed by a clear definition of the elements and why they are important.  I provide my voice, address their challenge and explain how I provide the solution in an easy to understand, engaging manner.

 

To view my profile click here: www.linkedin.com/in/lisakmcdonald

 

When writing your LinkedIn profile, resume or business communication get out of your own head and get into the head of your market.  Talk to them in a manner they understand, identify with them, present yourself as the expert that you are and come from a voice that is true to you. That is how you create engagement.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Brand Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

www.CareerPolish.com

Stop Trying to Please Everyone

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It does not work.  Period.

 

Well, this could be a short blog today…

 

 

Let’s just take a look at this in terms of communication – your business or personal communication.

 

By this I mean your resume or business communication, i.e. websites, promotional material, business bios etc.

 

Stop trying to herd the masses and focus on your intended audience.

 

One of the biggest mistakes I see with these types of communication is trying to make yourself a one-size-fits-all.

 

Resumes

 

Let’s take someone in sales as an example.  This individual could take a position as a Sales Representative, a Sales Manager or a Sales Trainer.  They have the skill set and experience for all three positions, it is just a matter of opportunity.

 

They should utilize a different resume for each type of position.

 

Each resume should focus on the specific position at hand and speak directly to that position, even thought the resumes are going to be similar.

 

Think of the 80/20 rule.  If this person was targeting a management position then the resume should focus 80% on their management qualifications, value and deliverables and 20% on actual sales/training background.  Of course the training can be rolled into the management side.

 

If they want a Sales Representative job without the management aspect then the resume should focus 80% on their sales experiences, results and value and 20% on the additional value, skills and abilities from their previous positions.

 

The resume should speak directly to the position for which you are applying making it easier for the reader to see you in that role.  This makes them more inclined to call you.

 

Sending out a broad based resume is putting the work on the reader to try to determine where you fit in the organization.  Honestly, they do not have time to do this.  More importantly, if you don’t know what you want why is it their job to figure it out for you?

 

Business Communication

 

If you are in sales or running your own company you know your market.  If you don’t you better figure it out before you attempt to communicate with anyone.  If you don’t know who you serve then you don’t serve anyone.

 

People  hire you because the service you provide, value you offer and positive treatment of your clients.   Know your value, know your audience and speak directly to them.  Stop trying to sell yourself across all lines of business, groups, individuals and industries.

 

Be honest – not all prospects are ideal clients for you.  Know who your ideal audience is and address their concerns.  Let it go that you will not appeal to everyone, remember, you don’t want everyone, or just anyone – you want your ideal client.

 

I am not staying offend the unwanted audiences, but write your message in a way that does not engage them.  How: by not speaking to their needs.  Using broad, overall comments or proclamations gives the indication that you will take anyone on as a client.  Not true.

 

Let’s use the example of a Financial Advisor.  Their target audience is established individuals or couples in a specific age range in an income range who work in the health care industry.  If they presented themselves as the solution to everyone they might get a hit on their target market every now and then, but they will also get a lot of hits from a wide audience that does not fit this criteria.  This means a lot of time “weeding out” the leads that do not match their criteria.

 

That is a lot of wasted time, on both sides.

 

Writing their website, bio or promotional material in such a way that speaks directly to their audience helps them align with their targets because they are speaking their language, know their needs and demonstrate their expertise in being able to address, and solve them.

 

It will narrow down the number of contacts they receive, but it is worth it to get fewer, quality leads rather than numerous, dead-end inquiries.

 

 

You are a unique individual with specific skills, value and abilities.  Present yourself as the solution to the audience you want to engage rather than a possible fit for just anyone.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com