In the early 1990s, all our surveys indicated that most of our subscribers read Practical Accountant cover to cover. Many of our long-time subscribers still do, however, I have discovered mainly from individual questioning that some of our new subscribers utilize a different approach.   They tend to only look at the titles of the features listed on the cover, peruse the table of contents, and read only those features and items in the departments of apparent immediate relevance to them.   This is an interesting tradeoff. This initial screening means that the reader will get done sooner and relieve some time pressure, but it also means he or she will miss a lot of information that might turn out to be very useful. For example, a reader who is interested in taxes might only read the tax features and the Tax Briefing and IRS Briefing departments. The problem is, that reader will have missed items in our Revenue Enhancers department on cost segregation and how some firms are generating substantial revenue conducting or arranging for cost segregation studies for clients.   Regarding reading habits, what about the written material that your firm generates, whether it is a newsletter, a magazine, or a proposal to obtain an engagement? How are these materials read? Does it depend on the age of the individual reader? What about in the case of an engagement proposal: does it depend on the job that the individual performs for the potential client?   Not reading cover to cover means it must be obvious right away what is relevant to that reader, even if it appears later in the document. It also means, whenever possible, material should be customized for the reader, eliminating material that won't initially hold their interest. In the case of a proposal, that might mean slightly different versions for the CEO and CFO of the business considering your firm. Both would have the same overall information in their proposal documents, but each might have a different opening, focusing on what would be of most interest to that particular individual.   The medium might come into play also. For example, do you know which of your clients like better an e-mail newsletter or a print newsletter?   The bottom line is, the quality of the content isn't enough, and by spending some time understanding exactly how your intended audience reads your written material, you will significantly increase the likelihood that it's read  

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