When it comes to writing for an audience, either through books or blogging, one of the biggest mistakes writers often make is that they try to write for too wide an audience.
Of course we all want as many people as possible to read our stuff, but in trying to please too many people at once you will weaken your writing and reduce the chances of your work connecting with people.
If you want your writing to have more of an impact, one of the best things you can do is to narrow the audience you are writing for.
By impact, I mean that your writing will be truly useful and valuable to a select group of people, the people that your content is targeted towards. These people already want what you have to offer, you just have to find them first.
Having little or no impact comes from people reading your work who don’t care about it, simply because they have no need for what you are offering.
It makes sense to target people who will give a shit, not those who won’t. The best way to reach those people is to define who they are first.
Define Your Audience First
Defining your audience in basic terms means deciding what kind of niche you want to write in. It means narrowing down the audience you want to reach with your work.
Take a general view first. If you are blogging or writing non-fiction, what is your niche?
My niche for this blog is the writing niche. That’s a pretty general summation of who I want to write for.
But that’s not enough. The writing niche is huge. I couldn’t possibly hope to target such a massive audience, so I have drill deeper.
I therefore choose to target people who are just beginning their journey of becoming a writer, people who are still learning the ropes.
If I go deeper again, I can say that I want to target people who desire to earn a living from writing, especially people who want to find success in self-publishing.
So my broad target audience is made up of beginning and intermediate writers who want the internet lifestyle to be had from self-publishing, people who are interested in gaining the freedom that comes along with that and who want to make the leap into being a full time entrepreneur.
That gives me a broad focus to work from.
You should do the same. Most of the time your subject matter will help define your audience, but normally you have to go deeper and find the niche within the niche.
In my experience, finding the niche within the niche (a sub-niche) will give you the greatest chance of success.
That’s just the start though.
You’ll have to dig deeper if you want your writing to have as much impact as possible.
Who Is Your Ideal Reader?
This is where we really get down to it and where defining a single person to write for can radically improve the impact of your writing.
This goes for fiction as well as non-fiction. It can help a great deal if you have a particular person in mind when you write.
Aiming your work towards a single person can help to focus your work and insure it stays on target.
It will also insure you don’t write too generally.
In non-fiction especially, writing in general terms is helpful to no one. To really help people, you have to get specific with what you write and who you write it for. One way to do that is to define a single person to write for.
Here are some questions you can use to define who your ideal reader will be:
- What kind of person are they?
- What are some of their dreams, hopes, desires?
- What do they want to get out of reading your work?
- What do they love about reading and what do they hate about it?
- What problems do they need solving?
Asking questions like these will help you narrow down your audience to a single person.
When I write for this blog I generally have one particular person in mind when I write, that person being a friend of mine who is just starting on their journey to become a writer.
When I write, I write like I am talking to my friend, as I’m doing now.
When I write fiction, my eldest daughter is my ideal reader. She’s twenty-three years old and loves the urban fantasy genre that I write in. So when I write my novels, I aim them at her because she is pretty representative of the typical urban fantasy audience.
It’s quite amazing just how much focus you can bring to your writing by having a particular person in mind when you write.
As far as non-fiction goes,writing for just one person (real or imaginary) helps you keep your style friendly and conversational in tone.
Trying to write for a broad audience will result in your writing style being too corporate in tone. It will come off like an essay you wrote for school or some dry business blog. You don’t want that if you want to really connect with your readers.
This defining of your audience is even more important when it comes to writing fiction.
If you want to sell books, you have to know who to market your books too.
The surest way to fail at fiction writing is to write a book without any idea of who the eventual audience for that book will be. That’s the equivalent of throwing mud at the wall and hoping some of it sticks.
You won’t succeed that way.
The way to succeed is to define your audience first, and then to define a single person who represents that whole audience, then write your book for that person.
Doing it that way will insure your book is targeted towards a real audience who should buy your book if you have done your job right and written something that will appeal to them.
My new book series is in the urban fantasy genre. Generally speaking, most people who read urban fantasy are women who like to read about strong female characters. The market research I did told me that.
So when I planned my book series, I did so with that demographic in mind. I made my main character a young female with strong personality traits. I knew if my daughter liked the books, there was also a good chance that particular audience would as well.
So before you write any book, define your audience first.
Same with blog posts and articles. Ask who you are writing for and what the message is you are trying to communicate to them.
Of course by defining and writing for a particular audience, you are also by necessity alienating other audiences.
That’s okay though. You shouldn’t write for the entire world, just a small section of it. Most of the time there will be enough people in that section to make it worth your while.
Start Defining Your Audience So Your Work Will Have A Greater Impact
Get to work on defining who you are writing for if you haven’t already done so.
Try to narrow down as much as possible who that audience is, then narrow even further by defining a single person who is representative of that larger audience.
It’s called target marketing.
Such a term may offend some peoples artistic sensibilities, and if that’s case, they need to get over that.
Even art has to be targeted at someone.
Art also has to be marketed, otherwise what is the point in creating in the first place?
You can’t do that if you don’t know who those people are.
Laser your focus by targeting your work and I guarantee your writing will have more impact and a much greater chance at reaching the right people so you can have success.