Thinking about your audience is important to success as a writer. Developing an understanding of who they are can help you create content that will be interesting, energizing, and generate the responses you want. The thing is, no matter how much you know about your audience; how you think about them also matters.
Sometimes we make the mistake of believing our audience belongs to us. When this happens, it becomes easy for our pride to run away with us. “Of course my audience will like this post! I’ve researched them and they love the stuff I write!” When you think that way it becomes easy to churn out some pretty useless content. You’re not concerned with serving your audience, meeting their needs and giving them a reason to read/watch/listen and respond.
Some authors think they own their audience. It’s a mistake. That kind of thinking pulls people away from you instead of toward you.
We can seek to give to our audience. Serve them by entertaining them, helping them solve problems, and teaching them things they want or need to know. In this modality we’re offering them a service (and information). We are using the information we gather about them to give them something. And, if we’re doing it right (in the right way and the right spirit), we’ll get what we want and need.
So, what does it all mean?
We can have all the self-confidence we want. We can have faith in ourselves. But we need to get pride out of the picture. Our audience doesn’t show up because we’re so great. They show up because they want things and get something useful or desirable out of what we write. It’s a natural consequence of putting the effort of creating useful and desirable content readers will reward us with views, follows, comments, shares, and occasionally even money.
When we know who our audience is and write for our audiences (rather than just assuming they’ll read/watch/listen to it because we wrote it) we set ourselves up for success. That’s when the opportunities happen.
I haven’t always been perfect at this (has anyone ever been perfectly perfect at it?). But I’m trying and learning to do better. And I see the rewards that happen when I do.
Understand your audience. Help them. And you will see the rewards.
As usual, dear reader, I’ll see you next post.