Writing for your audience

My blog visitors tend to be moms in my same stage of life: busy, kids, working (at home or out of the house), struggling with messy houses, wearing yoga pants, wishing they could get to the spa but feeling lucky they painted their toenails a fresh color.

I know my audience. I know to whom I’m writing, and I know who responds to me most.

Do you know your audience?

Knowing your audience helps drive the style and voice of your piece. Because I write here on my blog for an audience of like-minded moms, I keep my voice and style relaxed and basically informal.

But when I write for the company blog, I have to change my voice and style. My audience there consists of folks looking for answers to health needs, direct sales guidance, and DIY tips. While the tone of those pieces is conversational, I can’t let myself be too relaxed. There’s an element of decorum and formality that I must include.

My students are a different matter. With them, I need to command attention and illustrate that I have knowledge they want to learn. It’s imperative that I balance relevance and authority. I can talk about The Walking Dead, but I need to be sure that the information I provide is still appropriate and complementary to the lesson I’m delivering.

Knowing your audience is a key element of writing any sort of text. A blog, a short story, a poem, an article, a letter, an excuse note, a text message. Each has an audience that can drive the voice and style.

What does your audience know?

Understanding the context your audience brings to your subject makes a world of difference in what you choose to include in your writing.

Consider the following:

  • Does my audience already have background knowledge on this topic?
  • Do I need to offer any vocabulary or definitions in order for my audience to follow what I’m discussing?
  • Will the people reading this have pre-determined bias about the subject?

Think about your audience and what they already bring to the table. What motivates them? What makes them want to read your piece? What will make them respond?
Desired response
In the end, what do you want your audience to do as a result of your piece? Do you want them to follow a call to action? Do you want them to do something? believe something? What is your desired response?
Your audience will likely determine the tone you choose for your post. A group of teenagers will command different language from the President or your best friends.
Visit the past
What has already worked for your intended audience? Are they interested in a DIY with step-by-step instructions? Do they want something persuasive? What has caught your readers’ interest before?

In what ways do you consider your audience in preparation for a draft?


A version of this post first appeared on Cluttered Genius, a parenting and lifestyle blog.

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