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Know Your Writing Audience


Presentation 101 dictates that you need to know your writing audience. Know them as much as you reasonably can.

It’s doubtful that you’re going to be able to know them inside and out. Yet you can still usually get a good sense of at least some of the factors that make them who they are, such as:

  • Age range

  • Religion

  • Educational levels

  • Gender

  • Interests

  • Location

  • Pay range

  • Politics.

That isn’t to say you have to be the next big stalker like Facebook or Google, drawing on every online purchase people make, site they visit, or pic they post to build a perfect profile of how best to use them.

That kind of marketing research takes intense amounts of time and an invasive amount of technological know-how to compile. Hopefully you have a life outside of your business writing, and a non-creepy one at that.

Even so, you should have as decent an idea of who you’re writing to as possible, with a set audience in mind and/or a set platform. In most cases, that should be before you start writing whatever you're writing and for whatever purpose.

In all cases, you should know your writing audience before you publish.

The alternative to writing to your audience is to waste people’s time – your own included.

Here’s a very small example of why you want to know at least something about your audience when writing…

Late last year, I posted an article on LinkedIn, only to have someone comment on it. Even at first glance, it was obvious that this response was purely self-serving – and not just because it included a link to something he’d written.

I clicked on said link anyway just to be polite, only to be taken to a piece of self-righteous garbage that would have been offensive if it wasn’t quite so over-the-top opinionated.

In assuming I would like it, this individual proved the old adage about that very verb. Plus, he didn’t make any new friends, much less business contacts, to advance him along his merry writing way.

All he did was prompt someone to think of him as the epitome of ignorance.

Here’s the thing: If he had more carefully researched who he was promoting his piece to, it could have been quite the different story. He could have gained praise and possible new openings in his writing career with people who shared his opinion.

There is, after all, a market for just about any opinion out there, even self-righteous garbage.

Obviously, you can’t please everyone. Nor should you try to. That’s an exercise in futility considering how obstinately opinionated everyone seems to be these days.

All the same, you can make the time and effort you put into each marketing email… each article… each business blog post… a lot more worthwhile if you just put a little more effort into it.

Could this be the inspiration you've been looking for?

Target the right people with the right words at the right time so that your advertisements don’t go right to recipients’ spam.

Understand the companies you’re submitting articles to before you start typing anything out.

Respect your blog followers enough to speak to them on their level without being condescending or presumptuous.

You catch more readers with understanding than vinegar. So if that’s your goal – to get more readers – than know your writing audience.

After that, go ahead and write your heart out.

#knowyourwritingaudience