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Understanding audiences

Posted on March 11th 2016

It is stating the obvious that different subjects will require different pace and tone; writing about an insurance policy needs a more serious treatment than say, a pair of Levi’s (although some may disagree), but understanding the motivations of your audience remain paramount. It is all too easy to forget when messaging, whether it be email, blog, ad etc., just who we are addressing. I like to imagine one person in my mind’s eye – where are they, are they sitting down at a desk, having a cup of coffee, more likely they’re on the move and reading from a smart phone? Have they time to read what I am trying to tell them, will I get their attention? Would the person I am trying to communicate with speak with the voice I have adopted, how do I adjust my tone to gain familiarity, find common cause? So before you tap the keyboard, have a think, it just might make the difference between clarity and irrelevance.


We all do it, often unconsciously, and you need to be careful not to breach someone else’s copyright by pinching old ideas and phrases. There are many people who have commented about plagiarism over the centuries but I think the following quotation is the daddy of them all. It is from English writer and politician, Herbert Paul in 1896:

‘And after all, what is originality? It is merely undetected plagiarism’.