It is important that you define your audience for writing. Understanding who you are writing for will determine the tone of your writing. Knowing who you are writing for will allow you to better captivate your audience.
Determine Who Will Read Your Writing
The first step that you need to take to define your audience is to determine who will read your writing. You will need to figure out if the audience that you are writing for is primarily technical, business, or leisurely. You will then need to look at the demographics within those groups to ensure that you are able to write in a manner that will grab their attention.
Who is Your Primary Audience?
To determine your primary audience, you need to think about who is going to be reading your work. There are three main audiences that you will need to consider:
Once you have determined which category your writing falls into, you will need to determine the demographics of the category that you are trying to reach. Each category will need to be broken down further to refine your audience.
If your writing will be business-focused, you need to make sure that you are familiar with the business for which you will be writing. When you are writing for business there are a couple of questions that you will want to ask yourself:
- What type of business am I writing for?
- Is my primary audience male or female?
- What is the average age of people in this type of business?
- Am I teaching or informing?
Once you have answered these questions, you should have a general idea as to what style of writing you want to use. Each of these questions will help you narrow done the time and style that you want to use when you are writing.
Technical writing is a whole other beast. Often your audience will have an expertise in a certain area and you need to ensure that your writing takes advantage of that, providing more in-depth topics when writing about a known subject matter or higher-level overviews when the audience is not as familiar with the topic. Here are a few questions you will want to ask yourself before you write:
- What level of education does my target audience have?
- Am I explaining myself in a way that makes sense?
- How is the reader going to use this material?
- What age group is my target audience?
These questions will help you determine the level of writing you will need to use. By using these guidelines, technical folks will be more inclined to consume your writing.
There are a number of questions that you need to ask when you are writing for leisure. There are a number of different genres that you have to consider as well as a number of different sub-genres that you should be familiar with. We list only a few of the questions you should be asking if you choose to write for a leisurely audience:
- What genre are you writing?
- What age group are you writing for?
- Are you writing for men or women?
- Is the intent to entertain or inform?
These questions are only a guideline to help you set the tone of your writing. If you intend to write for this audience, make sure you truly understand their needs as a slight misstep on this front could result in nobody reading your writing.
Remember to Define Your Audience for Writing
Keeping these simple things in mind will allow you to define your audience for writing. Visualize this audience as you begin to write and your tone will naturally come. Again, if you are unsure about who your audience is, you can simply ask these questions:
- Are you writing for business, technical, or leisure?
- What age group are you writing for?
- Are your readers going to understand what you are trying to say?
- Are you writing for men, women, or both?
Understanding these key points will allow you to become a great writer with whom readers eagerly engage. Misunderstanding who your audience is, on the other hand, can lead to you wasting your time writing something no one will read.
For more from our 7 Days to Better Writing series: