Whether you're crafting a mobile interface, a shopping cart or a blog post, a critical component of effective communication is knowing yourself and knowing your audience. It sounds obvious when said aloud. However, because we are all capable of communicating, most folks tend to be too casual about it. All too often simple assumptions are made which irritate or confuse the consumer.
Even when folks are seeking out your business, realize you are entering into their personal domain. Suddenly, you're in their home, their office - in their browser, on their phone and in their inbox. You will need to respect both their time and space, while also speaking from a position of authority, with supreme confidence and knowledge. Attention spans are fleeting, so make the most of each opportunity. Head up, shoulders back, calm, cool, collected and to the point.
Know yourself. Determine your values and your short comings - areas where you know you need to improve. Then, imagine what more your audience may ask of you. Here is also where knowing your competition becomes invaluable. Seek to understand where the competition is succeeding and where they are failing. Adopt what is good, avoid what is not and (above all else) seek opportunities to differentiate.
Know your audience. Find them, quiz them, ask every question you can imagine. Who are you? Who do you respect? What do you consume? What do you want? What do you need? Where do you go for it? Where do you use it? When and why... Why is the most critical question you can ask. Ask a person why and they will give you a symptom to address. Ask again and you'll get another. Continue asking why and eventually you will discover their root needs.
Finally, adjust and align your offerings to match your audience's core needs. This is the key to winning an individual's favor and business. Then, the challenge becomes implementing your new content strategy, consistently, in all the infinite ways we communicate in today's world.