Know your audience

Know your audience

Good practice guide

Before you start you should have clear answers to the following questions:

  • Why are you creating the content?
  • Who are you creating the content for?

You need a clear answer to both these questions before you decide to publish. This guide will provide you with some points to consider in identifying your audience.

Why are you creating the content?

Every page on a website has two purposes – yours and the users' (audience). Your purpose provides you with the reason you are creating the content – and the users' purpose will govern the style, structure and format of the content.

  • Your purpose could be anything from encouraging enrolment and influencing decisions, to raising the profile of the University and celebrating achievements.
  • The user could seek out your content for many reasons, including wanting to take action (for example enrolling), conducting research, or just satisfying their curiosity.

When you have considered WHY the content is created, then consider WHO it is intended for.

Who is your audience?

The goal of your content is to paint a picture that you perceive your target audience will consider attractive and be prompted to respond to. The following table provides some examples of audience characteristics and possible impacts you should consider when creating content.

FactorExamplesPossible issues
Age
  • An older audience is more likely to read detail than a younger audience.
  • A 17-year-old high school student has no prior experience with universities, bureaucracy, and application processes.
  • A 30-year-old applicant for a graduate program will have a lot of knowledge about how a university works.
  • language and readability
  • detail and depth of information
Location
  • Are you writing for an audience with local knowledge or someone from far away?
  • Is location important to the audience?
  • local knowledge
  • importance of location information
Gender
  • Are you targeting a particular gender, for example to promote inclusiveness?
  • inclusive language
Cultural background
  • Are the language and illustrations appropriate for the audience?
  • Are you targeting a group with a non-English speaking background?
  • cultural sensitivity
  • language skills of audience
Education and profession
  • Do you assume the audience has a certain level of knowledge?
  • Does the audience share your professional background?
  • assumed knowledge
  • use of professional terms
Relationship to MQU
  • Are you writing for people who are familiar with the University – abbreviations, locations, or even the weather?
  • Do they know how the University works – where to get relevant information?
  • corporate knowledge
  • references to other parts of the university
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