Struggling to engage your audience? Use this simple technique to get more of the right people to listen-up. 

Notice how I’ve used the word ‘writers’ in my headline? And again in my opening sentence?

There’s a reason for that. One of the oldest and simplest tricks for engaging readers, is to spell out the groups you’re trying to engage.

For example, I want people keen to improve their writing skills to read this. People who want to write good content to engage customers and other target audiences.

That’s the group I’m aiming for. So I’ve made that clear in my headline and my opening sentence.

That might seem really obvious, but a lot of people don’t do it – so I guess it’s not . In this post, I’m going to explain in more detail how group triggers work, and how to use them.



We all belong to groups. Some obvious. Some less obvious.

The obvious groups are based on things like gender, age, where you live, your profession, political views, interests, whether you have kids, the music you like, the phone you have.

All those prominent components of your identity.

The less obvious groups? A personality trait. A lifestyle you aspire to. An attitude. An experience.

Less tangible stuff, but still very much part of who you are.



Imagine you’re trying to promote a product for Android-based phone users. An app for example.

The group you’re aiming for is pretty obvious – people with Android phones.

So when you write your copy – whether it’s for a pay-per-click ad, blog article, landing page or whatever – you’re going to say the word ‘Android’ loud and clear.

Because you want Android users to say: “Hey. I’m one of those people. This could affect me. I’d better read this stuff.”

To see group-triggers in action, take a look at your local news websites. Wherever you live, it’s a good bet they mention your town, city or region in a lot of headlines and intro sentences.

That’s because the fundamental group they’re trying to engage is the local population. So they spell that out.

Journalists understand group triggers really well. It’s integral to their craft.



Before we look at how to use this technique, I need to mention search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine management (SEM).

SEO and SEM are techniques for getting the most out of search engines like Google and Bing.

Both techniques involve identifying ‘key words’ (using Google Search Console, Keyword Planner or some other tool) to thread into your website copy or pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

If you get it right, these key words will help position your content in front of your target audiences on search engines.

It’s not massively complicated, but there’s too much to cover today (we’ll look at how to optimise your writing for SEO and SEM in a future blog post).

But I will say this. In my experience, spelling out your target group will rarely go against you in terms of SEO and SEM.

In fact, the nouns and verbs associated with your target group (e.g. ‘writers’ or ‘writing’ if we use this article as an example) will often form part of a key word.

Just avoid ‘keyword stuffing’ (stuffing your copy with keywords in an unnatural way – repeating them over and over). Search engines don’t like that.



1. headlines

Where and how you place group-triggers can depend on whether you’re writing social media posts, blog articles, display ads and so on. But if your copy has a headline, you should always try to include your group trigger in it.

Let’s go back to the headline of this article. I’ve used the word ‘writers’ because I want to engage people keen to improve their writing.

The headline is one of the first things you see – and will help you decide whether to read the article. So it’s nearly always a good idea to spell out the group you’re targeting in your headline.

2. intro

It’s often a good idea to include your group trigger in the ‘intro’ to your copy. In other words, the first line or two of the body text. Especially if you’re writing something like a blog post or news release.

Hit ’em twice by planting your group trigger in both the headline and opening sentence.

3. social media

Social media copy should be short and sweet. So just spell it out in your first line of text.

If you’re using Twitter, have a look if there’s a popular hashtag that resonates with your trigger. For example, I might use #writing in a tweet about this blog post.

4. cta text

Final thought. Sometimes a group trigger can work in the anchor text on a call to action (CTA) link or button on a web-page.

So for this article, my CTA is to encourage readers to contact me about the content services I provide. So I might try something like ‘Yes – I want to be a better writer and engage my audience.’

So there it is. Group triggers are a really obvious and effective way to engage your target audiences. Give it a go.