Know Your Audience
By Linda Ricke
In today’s environment of internet blogging, where a post can travel across the world in a matter of seconds, a writer does not always know who will be reading his work. Back in the day, when print was the main medium, it was easier to determine who the reader was.
It is just as crucial for the writer of today to figure out to whom he is targeting his message. Wordsmiths cannot say all things to all people, and the sooner one faces this fact, the more quickly he will gain a loyal following.
This is not to say that writers can only have one audience for their work. By all means, write for different people. For example, if someone is writing a piece for parents of young children, he might decide on topics about potty training and play groups, keeping in mind that his readers are likely to be sleep-deprived and seeking a voice of experience or solidarity in a time when childrearing can seem all-consuming. For an article geared towards parents of teenagers, he might talk about factors which should be considered when purchasing automobile liability coverage or how to handle the role of parenting a sexually active high school aged child. Both writers are writing for parents, but the audience is completely different.
If one is writing for personal reflection or spiritual matters, one would want to use lots of descriptive adjectives and write about feelings and emotions, paying particular attention to empathizing with his readers who are most likely dealing with similar issues in their own lives. If the audience is primarily twenty-somethings, it would be appropriate to use slang and trendy catch phrases. If one is writing for other writers, he could use terms like narrative drive and character development. If it is quilters whom one is trying to reach, it is important that one uses the correct terminology used by those who practice the craft.
A writer may not always know who is going to click onto his site, but if he decides ahead of time who is he is writing for, he can be much more successful in spreading his message, choosing the words appropriate to his target demographic.
Above all, write about what you care about. Write about what you know. Put yourself in your writing. And know for whom you are writing.
You can read more posts by Linda at lindaricke.wordpress.com and People For Others at loyolapress.com