Taking cues from the language of your audience

Do you know how your audience thinks, why they choose one major or program over another, and what words and phrases they use when talking about their desire to continue their education? This is the type of information that surfaced in a recent project with the College of Media, and it’s exactly what’s needed to craft messages that truly connect with to your audience and drive them to action. 

The College of Media project focused on first-year students in three different programs: journalism, communications, and political science. Among other things, we were trying to understand what influenced a prospective student’s decision to go to college and to study their specific program. While there were similarities between the three student segments, there were some distinct differences in the language they used to talk about their goals, passions, and why they picked their program: 

  • Communications students often describe why they picked their path by saying “I’m good at…”, talking about their skills with public speaking or interpersonal communication. 

  • Journalism students would talk about things using the terms “I love…”, saying things like “I love writing” or “I love hearing what other people have to say”. 

  • Political science students describe choosing their program because “I want to…”, saying they “want to be able to help” or they “want to make a difference”. 

As you can see, even though the what may be the same (that desire to pursue their passion at UIUC), the language they used to describe why was very different, which suggests different motivating factors for different groups.

Now the College of Media has that information to guide how they craft messaging that resonates with their audience and inspires engagement. Researching and defining your audience to create very detailed personas in this way is just one component to successfully targeting your audience and creating more successful marketing campaigns. Feel free to reach out if you have questions, or if there are specific audience segments you’d like to better understand.