Dear communicators, here’s what students want to see in your content

Many marketers write to audiences that might not be in their own generation, which can create some challenges. Understanding what your audience wants to see is important to successfully communicate with them. Writing for a student audience is often different from other audiences as they have unique interests, motivations, and behaviors with the media they consume. As a student myself, I have insights into what I and other students want to see when being communicated with from a brand. Below are some suggestions of things to do and things to avoid:

Things to do:

  • Use clear, clean, understandable language.
  • Take time to learn what students care about.
    • Share what the students would find the most interesting.
  • Be personable when you can. Having a personal touch will make the content more engaging for students and help them connect with it.
  • For social media, it’s okay to have a little fun.
    • Using trendy words/topics can make your students relate more to the content.
  • Ask student communicators in your unit to review.
    • They are the target audience so they can give the best feedback on what resonates with them.
  • Know that people will interpret and comprehend things differently. Make sure to think of all the different sectors within your target audience.

Things to avoid:

  • Long captions/phrases. Students have short attention spans.
  • Language that sways the audience one way or another. Be as unbiased as possible so the audience can make their own decisions.
  • Sharing content that isn’t relevant to the student audience.
  • Being boring. Use clear language, but don’t make the audience fall asleep.
  • Posting to meet a quota. Make sure content is quality and important to the audience.

Overall, it is important to understand there is a fine line between knowing how to write for your audience while still using a specific brand voice that engages them in the content. Don’t underestimate your audience. Students are smart, know what they want to see, and will respond positively to well thought out content.

Brianna Laursen, Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Senior