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HomeRants > Talk like a human being. > Probe your audiences--gently.> What info consumers want from your text



Info consumers say

Don't waste my time.

Remember me.

Let me answer my own question.

Exceed my expectations.

Talk to me in real time.

Let me personalize the content.

I want to feel special.

What info consumers want from your text

These uppity consumers are impatient, self-absorbed, and a bit confused. But if you give them the content and service they want, they will return over and over, becoming loyal fans and customers.

Here are a few of the things these consumers demand of your text:

"Don't waste my time."

No more lengthy explanations.

Clear away those introductions, transitions, summaries.

"Remember me."

I want to be remembered when I arrive at your site.

But recognition goes beyond greeting me by name.

I want to see topics I care about, like on my personal version of the Wall Street Journal, Interactive Edition.

I want to have my pages look and sound like the design I chose for My Page.

And I want your text to sound like you share my concerns, goals, and obsessions.


Who am I writing for, and, incidentally, who am I? (Full chapter from Hot Text, in PDF, 566K, or about 10 minutes at 56k)





"Let me answer my own question."

Embed answers right in the forms I have to fill out.

If I have to go to the Help or FAQ, organize it the way I think. Provide all the answers, not just the part that marketing folks feel comfortable with.

Give me a way to run a diagnostic on my own problem, so I can troubleshoot it myself.

Admit all problems, and send me to a discussion board where other consumers have come up with solutions.

"Exceed my expectations."

The road to satisfaction leads past  OK performance. When you give me more than I expect, I'm pleased. If you go beyond the standard a few more times, I am yours.

"Talk to me in real time."

If I've just put a product in the shopping cart, don't act like you don't know. Drop the pitch for that product.

Add stuff about add-ons.

Just as I expect used links to change color, I expect your system to know where I have been, and what pages I have looked at, adjusting the text to reflect that.

"Let me personalize the content."

I like some topics more than others, and I want to see that content first.

Let me choose what shows up at the top of my own page.

Let me opt in for email about topics, products, services, and controversies I am interested in right now, and when I change my mind, let me unsubscribe from email hell.

"I want to feel special."

I've been to your site so often I feel like I know you. I've read much of your material, and I have debated with you, either in my head, or in email. I expect you to recognize that I am a repeat reader.


With all these impulses, each consumer envisions a different text.

At the least, each small group of consumers demands that you pay attention to them, reflecting their interests in your organization, attitude, and style.

Next: Do you know who you are talking to?





















Who is this person?  Why is he wearing a Lego truck on his hat?



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  2002 Jonathan and Lisa Price
The Communication Circle
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