Q: Who’s my audience?
A: Why are you writing?
I’m not just being flippant: Who you write for depends a lot on why you’re writing.
I write my Frequent Questions posts for whoever asks the question, for the most part I’m writing my other blog posts for an intellectually curious writer with a serious sense of humor. In other words, for myself. My marketing writing is for me, too. The me that hasn’t yet done the work I’ve done to be able to teach what I teach.
When I start with a new group of writing students, I always do an exercise aimed at helping them see themselves more clearly through our favorite medium, words. It’s also a great self-esteem boost—and who couldn’t use one of those on the regular?
Seeing themselves more clearly helps them see their ideal audience more clearly—if you agree with me that the ideal audience is someone very much like yourself.
Marketing to your ideal audience
I was talking about this with my writers yesterday and they asked me what Seth Godin had to say about the subject in his Marketing Seminar. So I broke out my notes and found that—eek!—I’m diverging from Godin’s teaching a bit.
One of the questions he encourages us to ask is how our ideal audience differs from us.
Can our audience be like us and be different from us at the same time?
I think yes.
Because if we have something unique that they do not: our experience, our product, our wisdom—whatever it is we’re marketing.
While my ideal audience may be smart, creative, committed writers, they’re writers who have not walked in my shoes. I can tell them where to position the cushions to avoid blisters.
Being like me is not the same thing as being me.
But, listen, if any of you out there are me, could you find someone else to do the dishes?