After you define the purpose of your project you have an idea of the general, and maybe the specific audience, but you need more than who to reach them. Whether you are sending an email to your project owner, writing a thank you letter, or writing your book, you have to fully define who you your messages are directed to.
Create an Avatar for your Ideal Reader
A great exercise to help you identify the recipients of your prose, poetry, or factual report is to create an avatar. An avatar is a profile that reflects your ideal reader. Use the Avatar to define your reader’s characteristics and stay focused on them as you craft your message. By clearly identifying your reader, you will not wander off on tangents that are not important to them.
Create your reader avatar by finding out as much as you can about who they are, what they do and what they want. Use a spreadsheet or download the Ideal Reader Avatar Worksheet to hold your focus on your audience.
Start with the basics. Who are they?
- What is their approximate age? What generation are they part of? Are there characteristics of their generation that will help you to get your message across?
- What is their gender? If gender doesn’t matter to your message, decide which is most likely to need your information.
- What is their occupation? Job title? Function?
- What level of education have they completed?
- What is their annual salary?
It is a great idea to name your avatar so you think about it as a real person.
Goals and Values
Identify their goals and values so you have a better understanding of what is important to them.
- What do they dream of? What do they want to accomplish?
- What is important to them?
Challenges and Problems
What problem are they trying to solve? Without a problem, challenge, or crisis, they will have no need for your information. Even if you know it will help them, if they don’t think they need it, they will walk right by.
- What is the biggest challenge they face?
- What problems are they experiencing?
- What are their pain points?
What results do you promise? How will the information you give to them solve their problems?
- Do you have a new process that will solve their problem or get them past their challenge? What makes it new or revolutionary?
- Do you have insights that will enable them to accomplish more, faster? What is it about your idea that makes it desirable to your ideal reader?
If you are writing a book, one avatar is all you need to craft your message so it is received. If, however, you are sending emails to project stakeholders, you may need to create an avatar for people with different functional responsibilities. When you define your “project avatars”, create a Communications Plan to ensure every message you convey is received and understood.
To ensure that your message reaches the ears of the people who need to hear it, create an avatar. This will keep you focused so your message is clear and understandable – to them, specifically. If you try to talk to everyone, you will talk to no one. Define your avatar by researching
- Who they are.
- Their goals and values
- How they consume information
- Their challenges and problems
- The results they expect from your message.