Here, at We ❤Health Literacy Headquarters, the terms “target group” and “target population” are not alien to us – they are the bread and butter for health communication! But when you think about it, they’re not a great way to relate to … well, anyone.
“Target” sounds a bit aggressive, like military terms that we try to avoid. And it can make people feel like they, uh, targeted – rather than prioritized, that’s what we actually mean! This connotation can get especially tricky when you’re writing about marginalized communities.
Of course, your end user should never see the document in which you refer to it as your “audience” – or anything else. But stranger things have happened! And as our elementary school teachers liked to say, if you wouldn’t use a word while talking to someone, it is best not to use it when talking above Them.
So how do we talk about the people we want to reach in our internal communications, poster presentations at conferences, and the like? We have a few ideas – and they’re super easy swaps!
- Our main target audience for the campaign are black Americans between the ages of 25 and 44.
- We prioritize people with disabilities in our public relations efforts.
- The social media content was very effective in reaching the intended audience.
- Our target audience for the campaign are black Americans between the ages of 25 and 44.
- We target people with disabilities in our public relations work.
- The social media content was very effective in reaching the target audience.
The bottom line: Leave the “target audience” behind – try “intentional”, “priority” or “primary” instead.
Thank You For Reading!