Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.4.The purpose for writing/signing, the target audience and the context are clear in relation to the learning task or activity.

ryanrori December 29, 2020

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Understanding your audience and their needs is a key factor in creating useful workplace documents. It is important to do the following:

  • Gather information about your target audience and their level of education.
  • Gather information about their motivators such as security, ethics, prestige fears and        health.
  • Gather information about their preferences in reading.

As you think about your audience, you should consider what the purpose of your writing will be and what the reader will do with the information you provide.

The Writer’s Purpose

The writer’s purpose changes with the audience and the message itself.

The following are some of the most common purposes of on-the-job writing:

·    To convey information, either background information or updated information

·    To provide the basis for decision making

·    To describe a process or procedure

·    To propose solutions or alternatives

·    To explain how to do something

·    To explain, justify, or argue for a particular course of action

·    To compare similarities

·    To contrast differences

·    To clarify a technical, scientific, or legal idea

·    To describe something that happened

·    To explain why something happened

·    To present the results of a particular course of action

·    To define technical/scientific/specialised terminology

·    To describe a problem and/or solution

·    To predict future trends or events

The Reader’s Purpose

Once you have determined what you want the reader to do with the information you present, you have completed half of the purpose task. The other part requires you to work from a different angle: figuring out why your reader might read what you have written. Some of the most common purposes for reading on the job include the following:

·    To gain information necessary for the reader’s job performance

·    To gain information to be used in a meeting, presentation, or written document

·    To gain information for general knowledge (who’s doing what? what’s happening?)

·    To determine the quality of the product, service, or course of action described

·    To evaluate the progress on a project

·    To determine the feasibility of the product, service, or course of action described

·    To determine the costs of the product, service, or course of action described

·    To understand a problem and its potential solutions

·    To see how ideas fit together

·    To understand how individual company projects contribute to corporate goals

·    To understand the company’s plans for the future

Target audience

Magazine and book publishers have always realised the necessity of keeping their target audiences in mind with every article, book or issue they produce. They’re businesses, after all, and readers are their customers.

As a writer, do you do the same? Do you even know who your target audience is? Taking the time to define and get to know the potential readers of your work can make the world of difference in the level of success you can achieve in your writing career. Here’s why:

1. Knowing the kinds of readers you want to reach will provide you with a springboard for writing ideas. Children, young mothers, business executives and sports enthusiasts all have different needs, desires and interests. Look at the world through your readers’ eyes. What do they need or want to read about? You’ll never run out of ideas if you do this.

2. Identifying your target audience will enable you to focus your writing efforts. Write to inform, entertain, persuade or inspire your particular audience, and you won’t waste time on writing projects that would be of no interest to them, and of no help to your writing career.

3. Most importantly, knowing who your readers are will help you find the right markets for reaching them. You’ll be in tune with the very magazine and book publishers who serve those market niches–and the editors will welcome fresh material that will enable them keep or increase their readership.

How do you, the writer, identify and get to know who your target audience is? I suggest starting with broad generalisations, then drilling down to more specific characteristics. Here are some ideas:

 · Start with gender and age ranges. Will your readers be mostly male or female? Young   or old? Are they members of a specific race or religious belief?

·   Where do they live? What is their social or economic status? Do they rent, or own their own homes? What kinds of cars do they drive?

·   Are they employed? Self-employed? Employed but want to be self-employed?

·   High school graduates or college-educated?

·   Physically fit or physically challenged? Single or married? Do they have children?

·   What do they like to do in their spare time? Where do they shop? Do they travel? Are they physically or politically active? Do they even have spare time?

·   What do they worry about? What do they dream about? What’s important to them? What are their values?

 · When they reach for a book or magazine, what are they looking for? Information? Escape? Inspiration?


The subject matter about which you are writing, along with the other people and projects that may be affected by your communication, constitute the combined content/context of your document.

In addition to the specific message or content you have to convey to the reader, you also need to see the context, the bigger picture of how your project fits into the organisation’s overall plans.