Tag Archives: readers

Bulls-eye: Knowing Your Target Audience

10 Jun

Hi, My name is April. I’m a writer who is guilty of writing without a target. I don’t know if you are guilty, too, but I’m guessing at least some people reading this are. I’ve almost always written because I’ve got something running around in my head that needs to escape. I guess I’ve always kind of assumed that whoever needed to read it would either find it or stumble on it accidentally.

DOH…

I was reading, this week, several different blog posts and a couple of book chapters, all of which reminded me what we were taught in high school English class… remember your reader… remember your target audience or your perfect reader. Picture your perfect reader, the one you are writing to and it will make the writing sound more like a story you are unwinding and less like you are spinning out of control.

As I read, this week, and worked through who I’m writing to this week, I connected better to myself and connected better to the story I am unwinding in my mind. I’ve decided on several projects that I need to work on and I know that I have different audiences for each one.

It is not to say that you write to what you think that audience wants, then all you are really doing is pumping out stories that don’t have the ring of authenticity. That isn’t any better than just taking off on your mind trip without any companion in mind. It is more to say that you want to have in your mind the person who you believe is sitting in the passenger seat of your automobile in your mind, the one you are traveling in as you unravel your tail.

How old are they, or how old do you think they are? The life experiences of a 45 – 55 year old are incredibly different from the life experiences of a twenty year old. How you tell your story is likely going to be different based on who you are talking to.

What is their education level and/or their socioeconomic background? It may well be that your story will fascinate people across the spectrum, but if you write for someone whose vocabulary is that of a neonatologist, you may find yourself losing the people who would treasure your stories if they had a more conversational vocabulary.

Where were they raised? You don’t have to know that they were raised in Intercourse, PA specifically to think that they are probably from a small to mid-sized town and will understand the reference of a small town and you can freely talk about dirt roads and sink holes where the ideal reader might not be from inner city LA necessarily if that is the language you write in. You can’t possibly hope to write for or make happy everyone from everywhere.

What are their core values?  Are you going to offend them if you swear?

This blog has a fascinating list of questions that can help you narrow down your target.  As a result of my thinking through who is in my adventure with me, sitting in the passenger seat of my peti-cab through the fertile fields of my imagination, I have a picture of my companion, and I am writing now for that person.  I really hope she likes the trip we are going on together.

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Know Your Audience

10 Apr

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

Blogging Styles: Don’t Paint Yourself into a Corner

6 Apr

By Guest Author – DCMontreal lives in, not surprisingly, Montreal, Canada and is a freelance writer who blogs at http://dcmontreal.wordpress.com/

Blogging styles vary as much as the bloggers who use them. In this article I will take a look at some of the traditional blogging “rules” and how you can still maintain your blogging style. I once read a definition of fashion that claimed true fashion involves knowing all the rules, but not being afraid to break them. Just a little food for thought as you go about blogging.

Finding your niche; it could be a style

They tell you when you start out testing the waters of the Blogosphere that you should find your niche. Select a topic and stay within the bounds: maybe sports, or fashion, or cars or music. But perhaps your niche is a style rather than a topic. As I have written about before, humor can be a great means of attracting traffic to your blog, and you can be funny about all sorts of things. Your niche could be social commentary which covers a very wide spectrum of interests: from education to gun control, healthcare to women’s rights. All of these provide fodder for humor, or satire, or commentary. So don’t fear being painted into a corner when you consider your niche.

Long versus short posts

I understand some bloggers’ style is to compose long treatises on their subject of expertise. I’m not a big fan of long posts, books, films or winters (I do live in Montreal); think Hemingway not Dickens or Simenon not Proust. Cut to the chase as it were. We live in a world of virtually instant information; we carry iPhones, iPads, tablets and all sorts of devices that help us keep in touch. Many people get their news in 140 character Tweets, bite-size chunks of information. Consider for a moment how the use of words has changed over the years. Have you ever seen a newspaper from the 1890s? They’re chock-a-block with columns of words, not a graphic to be found. As technology developed and allowed for easy photograph inclusion in newspapers, the number of words dropped and pictures started to become more common – the old picture being worth a thousand words concept – right up to the USA Today style of newspaper that is heavy on photos and light on words.

It isn’t all that farfetched to think busy on-the-go people enjoy punchy, shorter blog posts that get to the point quickly. They say that a blog of less than 300 words doesn’t make it to the Google radar and thus affects your traffic, but I’ve had success with short posts in the past and hope to do so again. This concept of terse versus verse upon verse isn’t new. Haiku for instance, the Japanese poetry has been around for centuries. It counts sound units known as “on” or morae (sort of like syllables). Traditional haiku consist of 17 on, in three phrases of five, seven and five on respectively.

Frequency of posts

In keeping with short versus long posts is the issue of posting frequency. This really depends on your schedule and desire. I tend to post daily; sometimes I publish more than one post on a day if the spirit moves me. On days when I’ve been late with my post I’ve been contacted by followers

to see if all is well. So it’s up to you, but remember people are creatures of habit and if you get them interested and expecting a daily post, make sure you deliver.

Remember the competition for readers is fierce and you need to make an impression fast. The old sales adage that it’s easier to hold on to clients, in this case readers, than to find new ones is very true.

Happy blogging!

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