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Writing for an Audience

Today I have new subscribers to this blog. (Welcome!) This means that I’m no longer just talking to myself. Okay, it means I’m no longer talking to myself on this blog. People in my house will argue that the normal self-dialogue continues unabated. With gestures. Given the opportunity, I’m sure they would blab other odd writerly habits that I possess, and as soon as they start cranking out their own blogs, they probably will.

Anyhoo… having subscribers means writing for an audience. That seems an appropriate topic for this blog…

Merriam-Webster defines audience as both A) a reading, viewing, or listening public and B) a group of ardent admirers or devotees.

As writers, we  all strive to find the magic formula that will turn our Definition A audience into a Definition B audience. It’s great to be read; greater still to be followed. We want the audience to keep coming back for more.

So what’s the magic formula? Match your writing to your audience, then, and this is the important part, give the reader what they want or need.

That’s it.

To sell more articles, get more subscribers to your blog, or successfully pitch a book to an agent, consider your audience and target your writing to them.

For example, I know from reading the stats on this blog, the posts that get the most attention are the weekend assignments and anything attached to the tag “inspiration”.  If I’m smart, I’ll brainstorm and write more posts that fit into those categories because that’s what my audience is reading.

If you have a magazine you want to crack, create your own stats by reading six months to a year’s worth of issues. Look at the ads — who do they target? List the departments that appear in each issue — what areas are covered? What topics are covered time and again? If you pay attention, picture of the target audience will start to emerge. Readers of Family Circle, for example are accustomed to seeing features about dealing with family issues, cooking, and decorating. An article about collecting model trains probably isn’t going to find an audience there.

The same goes for agents. An agent who represents self-help books is not the proper audience for a synopsis of your vampire romance.

Who are you writing for and what do they need?

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