Understand Your Audience

Understanding your audience means specifying who your intended audience is. It’s not everyone. You can find examples of specific audiences at List of Common Public Health Audiences. You’ll also need to learn the following about your intended audience:

  • Their needs, wants, motivations, attitudes, and values
  • Their literacy, health literacy, and numeracy skills
  • Their cultural beliefs and practices
  • Their preferred communication channels for getting health messages

You can often find this information by conducting a literature search, using an audience research database, consulting an organization that works directly with your intended audience, or by conducting a survey with a sample of your audience. The more you know about your audience, the better you can reach them with messages, activities, and policies. We’ve provided resources and tools to get you started.

A man working at this desk

Surveys and other tools measure people’s literacy, numeracy, and their experiences with healthcare. Use these studies for ideas about research and evaluation questions or as benchmarks for your own results.

Business meeting in progress

Organizations can increase communication effectiveness when they recognize and bridge cultural differences that may contribute to miscommunication. Find health literacy resources and information to communicate across cultures.

An older woman reading on a laptop with her daughter

This section provides tools and resources to help public health professionals improve their communication with older adults by focusing on health literacy issues.

After you develop your message or communication material, test it with a sample of your intended audience and use their feedback to improve the material’s formatting, text, and images.