Get a Leg Up in the Digital World: Walk 3 Miles in your Readers’ Shoes


I recently read an article posted on Marina Maher’s blog The Inside Scoop discussing how to become and stay successful in the digital world.  As new devices and mediums emerge, it becomes even more difficult to stay ‘digitally savvy.’  Luckily, the author of this post, Samara Finn, mentions four qualities that give professionals an edge in the digital world: curiosity, passion, judgment, and resourcefulness.  These qualities can help you stay on top of your game and ahead of the competition.


Understanding and possessing these qualities is extremely important if you want to succeed in the digital world. Rather than telling you how to channel these qualities, I am going to look at this issue from the opposite angle.  Let’s assume that the majority of readers possess at least one of these qualities; how can you use this knowledge to your advantage?  By putting yourself in their shoes you can make your online content to stand out from the clutter and get it read by your intended audience.


First Mile: Pitch to the Passionate: The first step is knowing who your target audience is, and where they are most likely getting their information from.  If you’re looking to reach students, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter may be the perfect outlets.  On the flip side, if you’re trying to reach an older, more specific audience you may want to reach out to specialty blogs.  Selecting an interested audience doesn’t guarantee they will read your material; you need to take extra steps to ensure that your material stands out.


Second Mile: Play on their Curiosity: Humans are innately curious, especially when they’re passionate about an issue.  Therefore, understanding curiosity can help you reach your audience.  For example, using a catchy title can attract your readers’ curiosity and entice them to read further.  Interesting, controversial and thought provoking titles can provoke curiosity, as well as a title that asks a question.  Additionally, you must satisfy this curiosity by the end of the article—give them new knowledge, and a reason for reading.


Third Mile: Pass their Judgment Test:  You want to gain credibility and loyal followers so that your material will make it through the clutter and so readers will turn to your material over other writers’.  So how do you gain credibility? Make sure that your content is relevant and informational.  Backing up your opinions and ideas with facts and quotes is never a bad idea.  In an article written by PR professional Andrew Worob he stated: “I’ve learned to counsel clients and continue to stress to them that they think, before they publish and not post anything that they aren’t 100 percent behind and proud of.”  This is great advice, when in doubt: put yourself in your readers’ shoes, and only give them information that you would want to read.




Rebecca Wool, Junior, Treasurer (PRSSA)


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