The following questions are provided to assist in the development of content for a multicultural audience.
A. What is the objective?
Is it to inform, to convince, to sell, or something else? Decide and get it clear. Once you know the goal, you can plan your strategy.
B. What is the message?
When developing content for a website or other marketing communications vehicle, most writers are alone, isolated from the world, with the exception of a computer that they use for composing. Most writers fail to spend enough time thinking about the message that needs to be delivered and the intended audience. Developing the right message is the most critical step in professional communications. Every word, image, color, font size and layout detail requires careful consideration to efficiently target the thousands or millions of people you hope to reach, capture attention and influence to respond, all while optimizing your content to pop up first in a search query.
C. Who is the target?
When writing for the Internet, you are writing for a large audience. As a writer, you need to define and consider carefully the most important attributes of this audience. These attributes should drive the development of your content. Bear in mind that people all over the world may be exposed to your content. Before you write, consider the entire universe of people who may be exposed to your writing and may share little else in common. Next, focus on the groups of people who share commonalities. Finally, think about the individuals who are actually reading your content. Why are they reading and how will they use it. How will you appeal to them?
D. Where do readers experience your message?
While millions of people may stumble across your written or video content, they will experience it differently. Some may experience it alone or in a group, in a quiet living room, or in a bustling airport lobby or a construction site. How does place influence reader perception?
E. When is it experienced?
What time of year do people shop for televisions online? How does quick adoption of technology influence business success (and how is that related to auto mechanics in Houston)? How do seasonality and disposable income influence visitors to online gambling sites? And how does the Internet change the way people perceive the world? As the saying goes, timing is everything. Know how time influences readership and purchase decisions and plan accordingly. Let time determine when to release your message.
F. How is it presented?
Internet users seldom comprise a captive audience. Unlike many other media channels, cyberspace is free and visitors can easily ignore your content, based on how it’s perceived. In this way, it is similar to broadcast television or radio, where listeners can easily change the channel when bored. In a click of a mouse, a user can move onto something else. Thus, not only is attracting an audience crucial, but so also is keeping that audience.
G. Who presents it?
Most people have favorite websites that they turn to for entertainment, education and product purchase or usage advice. Some people visit websites that they are not familiar with or ones that they have preconceptions about. They may skim over other sites lightly, missing critical details. But other sites may capture and hold their attention. Will your content be placed on a website, your blog, someone else’s blog or someone else’s website? How will it be promoted on social media?
H. How is it experienced?
The widespread adoption of technology is universal. People throughout the world may experience your content on a smartphone, a tablet, a work computer (with or without speakers), a smart TV or a conference room projector. While your Internet audience may be global, your message should be both individualized to be experienced by one person in a living room on an iPad or generalized to be experienced by dozens of people in a conference room on a computer and projector. Differences in language, dialect and culture also complicate individual and group experiences. Should your content be translated into Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, French or another foreign language—or perhaps several languages? How will your content be perceived in different cultures?