By Terry C. Misfeldt
Determining your audience is an often overlooked aspect of writing. If you fail to consider who you want to read what you write, and write for that audience, you are only writing for one person: You!
How do you determine your audience?
First, think about what you want to write. Have you come up with a story about young adults and their interaction? Are you creating a fantasy world set in ancient times or projected into the distant future? Or are you writing about business management techniques?
This first step is essential. It identifies your potential audience members. People who may want to read what you write. Operative word there is “may” be a reader.
Second, consider reading habits of your target audience. If the story about teenage interaction is designed for readers 18 or younger, what is their reading comprehension level? What language should you avoid? What scenarios are acceptable to this segment of the reading population? In the case of a fantasy work, is your audience narrowly defined or rather broad in scope? Will the reader understand the terminology you intend to use, or does it even matter?
With management techniques, consider if you want this read by production level workers or upper level supervisors. What are their personality styles, and can you write using strong control language?
Third, write for your target audience. Keep in mind that even if you have written a Pulitzer Prize winning piece, getting people to read it is another aspect of the writing craft called marketing. However, if you hit the nail on the head by identifying your target market (readers) your odds of getting your words to the right people are increased.
Tip: If you know someone who likes to read and falls in the category of your target audience, ask them to review or edit your work for you. This helps clarify that you are on the mark with that audience or need to shift tactics a bit. For instance, if you write for young adults you should find someone in that age group to read what you’ve written and see if it resonates with them.