Monday, January 28, 2013

Finding An Audience for Your Writing


When was the last time you paused from your writing and thought, “Who is my audience?” It seems like a simple question and one with an immediate answer. But when you really stop and think about it you may find the answer is more fuzzy than you thought.

Whether you’re writing blog posts, magazine articles, a book or website copy, you have to know the audience for your words. Answering that question will help you through the research, writing and editing phases of your work. 

For example, I’ve written a large number of articles for businesses magazines and newspapers. I know the audience is a business crowd – educated people with an understanding of phrases like “ROI” and “succession planning.” I don’t need to waste words explaining these concepts in great detail.

Who is your audience?

A blog post by literary agent Rachelle Gardner sums up this concept nicely: “Make your blog about your reader.”

Sounds like “writing concepts for dummies,” but we can get so caught up in our writing we tend to forget who we’re writing for and who’s reading our work. Gardner points to “engagement” as a critical component of your blog. That means getting people to not only read your blog once but come back time and again. The same could be said for books, articles and other forms of writing where were want to develop an audience – a group of people who truly want to read what we have to write.

If you’re struggling to determine your audience, take a look back over your work and see what generated the most response. This is easy to do on a blog where you can measure hits and comments and certainly if you’ve published a book you’ll know if people are buying and reading. What blog post, for example, had a lot of comments? Did something in that post resonate with your target audience?

Maybe you write simply as a hobby, a way to express yourself creatively. That’s OK if the audience is you. Most of us, though, want readers, people who will engage with us on this writing journey, but they can’t engage with you if you’re not writing for them.

Do you struggle with determining your audience? In what ways have you answered this question for yourself? 


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