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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Who Is Your Audience?

Who Is Your Audience? 

I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing your audience! While this may seem like a banal statement, let me assure you that it is not; most of us do not have a clear picture of our intended audience. (You may argue that you don’t need one, but I’ll address that in another post.)

Let’s first look at the question, Who are you? This is important because the chances that YOU are similar to your audience are extremely high.

Describe yourself as you would be described in a demographic report. Sounds impersonal, I know, but do it anyway:
1) gender;
2) age range (12-19? 20-something? 25-40? 35-50?);
3) income bracket;
4) level of education;
5) professional field;
6) interests and concerns (i.e., politically active? Community-minded? Religious/spiritual? Concerned about global issues? Concerned about environmental issues? And so on…).

Place yourself in the first five categories and then choose one topic from your fifth category that best describes what consumes the bulk of your time, energy, money, and thoughts. Do this because it will help you get an objective perspective of yourself as all the companies and organizations that flood your email and physical mail box with unsolicited information see you.

Why is this important? Keep reading:

As a writer, you want people to read your work who are beyond your immediate circle of family, friends, and acquaintances. In other words, if you want to be published, you are ultimately seeking strangers to read your work. So who are these potential readers?

If you are like me, you may not want to limit who might read (and like) your writing; I want to cast a great big net out there and just see what I get.


I thought this was fine for a very long time. Then I actually heard myself say it recently and finally realized how undirected this is! Am I really willing to just write to the breeze and see what happens? Apparently I am because that is exactly what I’ve been doing.

But that’s not what I do for my clients. My clients give me a demographic report of their target audience and I write specific tailored to that group of people. And guess what? My clients are getting far better results from my writing than I am.

To be precise, my clients are getting money from my writing. I am not.

The writing I do for myself gets lost in cyber space. I truly believe it just vanishes.

What happens to your writing? Has it moved you to where you want to be as a writer? Or does it sit in a notebook or on a barely-read blog?

I invite you to look at the question of audience with me for at least a couple of months. After describing yourself as a member of a demographic group on someone’s report, write up the description of your audience. Then write to that audience for a while. Be committed to it because that’s the only way this experiment will give you an accurate result.

I’m going to do that with this blog and my other blog, Forever My Momma. Then in a couple of months, I’ll report back here with the results. I hope you will report back, too.


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