Do you know who you are writing to? I mean, do you really KNOW?
If you close your eyes and imagine your reader, who do you see? Is it a clear picture of a person you know well, a friend you know as intimately as you know yourself? Or is it more nebulous? A fuzzy approximation of who you think your audience might be?
One of the most common fears I hear from our Elite Blog Academy students is the worry that if you zero in on your audience and get too focused on whom you’re targeting, you’ll alienate your readers.
On one level, this fear makes sense. Isn’t it smart to appeal to as many people as you possibly can? Shouldn’t we broaden our scope and be more inclusive? Shouldn’t we try to grow by casting a wide net?
In a word, no. The reality is that when you try to talk to everyone, you’re really talking to no one.
Think about it–your number one goal in blogging is connection. The more specific you can get and the more you can hone in on talking to one person, the more connection you’ll foster.
But it’s not always easy, or even naturally to think about writing to just one person. I know when I started out, I thought in more broad and generic terms. I even did a few reader surveys to try to get more demographic information. My thought process went something like, “Okay, so I’m targeting women aged 25 – 45 who live in a certain area and are interested in X, Y, Z…”
But the problem is, when we think in those broad and generic terms, we’re not really connecting. We don’t understand who our audience IS. What makes them tick? What are their goals? What are they looking for?
In order to foster that real sense of connection, you need to know your audience on a personal and intimate level.
And the more you can hone in on that one individual in your audience, the one person you’re writing to — the more personal and intimate your writing will feel.
So it’s time to really get to know your target audience.
Why You Need To Get Serious About Defining Your Audience
Now at this point, you might be thinking, “I think I have a pretty good general idea of who my audience is… Why do I need to get specific?” And that’s a valid question.
But I promise — the more you hone in on your audience and get to know the specifics about them, the easier blogging will be. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few of the ways knowing your audience will improve your blogging process:
WRITING GETS EASIER
When you know who your target audience is on a personal and intimate level, writing will become so much easier. Instead of writing to a faceless audience you don’t really know, you’ll start to feel like you’re writing to a friend.
It’s easier to write to a friend because you know them: you know their life, you know their struggles, you know the ins-and-outs of what they’re going through.
Let’s look at an example of this. Let’s say you were writing an email to your best friend about how to organize her closet. Well, she’s your best friend!
You already know her, so you know what she’s going to struggle with in organizing, you know what her closet looks like, you know the kind of advice she’s going to respond well to.
You know her, you love her, and you know how to talk to her, so writing that email feels natural and easy.
But let’s say you had to write an email to a large group of people on how they should organize their closet.
Well, that’s a little more difficult. You don’t really know anything about them. What’s wrong with their closets? Are they already fairly organized, or are they starting from scratch?
You’re grasping in the dark, and without knowing all those personal details about whom you’re addressing, it becomes harder to write.
The same is true when you really get to know your target audience. You start to think about them — and write to them — like you would with a friend. Once you have that friendly relationship, the writing just starts to flow.