As we create, it’s important to identify and speak to a specific audience.
Identify one person that you know would value or connect with your words or content. Find one specific person that your message would resonate with. Your words and content should be directed specifically to them.
There is no need for archetypes, or people “just like them.” That’s what algorithms and Facebook or Google ads are for.
Your job is to think about that one person. What are their needs and wants? What are their desires? What are their pain points?
Most likely, you’re in the position that you’re currently speaking from because you’re just like that person. You are that person before you went on this life journey and you now have this new perspective or expertise.
Speak to that one individual that you once were…and now you can connect with them.
Find and speak to that one person. In the end, you’ll see that it’s more than one person. There are many behind them. But first, identify and speak to them. And then continue to focus and address that individual.
Your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person – a real person you know, or an imagined person – and write to that one.John Steinbeck
For some writers, you’re writing for yourself. I know there is a part of my audience that is saying “but wait!!!! I write for myself!?!?” Agreed. In many ways I write for myself as well. In a future post, I’ll dig in deeper on that topic. For now, we’re focusing on writing for an audience…even an audience of one.
Personas & Avatars
When I write, I focus on creating personas, or avatars to focus my writing. Personas are more of a marketing and customer service focus. Avatars are more of a reading, writing, and blogging focus. In reality, they are the same thing.
Personas and avatars are prototypes of your target audience. When we communicate, we learn at an early age that we need to send and receive messages to one person or group. When we learn to write, we focus on the audience as we communicate.
As we learn to blog, or communicate in social spaces, we’re often confused as we don’t know how or where to focus.
To combat this, I develop and focus on an avatar as I write. This avatar is usually a composite of two to three people I know in real life. I pull different components of each of their personalities, wants, and needs into one person and write for that person.
As an example, on my main blog, I write for a K-12 educator I mentor, a senior researcher in higher ed, and an entrepreneur that has started up a new career. They may seem like different people (and they are) but in my mind, they’re just at different time points in their lives.
On my newsletter, I write for students and colleagues that I’ve mentored in the past that are really trying to understand what is happening in technology, education, and literacy. I write to help them become me…or at least gain the insights and dispositions that I have. It’s for the people that want to be the experts.
Identify Your Target Audience in 3 Steps
To identify your audience and develop your persona/avatar, you need to be clear about who you’re trying to reach, what you have to offer, and the pain points of your audience.
Even though it is from a marketing and business point of view, this post shares some great insight. I modified their prompts a bit to make it more accessible for my audience.
- Understand What You Bring To The Table For Your Target Audience
- What’s your core offering to readers?
- Who would benefit the most from what you have to offer?
- What are the primary pain points you address?
- What makes you and your message unique?
- Create Detailed Personas/Avatars Of Your Target Audience
- What does your ideal reader look like?
- What would lead them to want to invest more in you and your message?
- What does it look like as they invest more time in you?
- Where is your persona/avatar, and how do you get your content in front of them?
- Research, research, and research some more
- Start with your own audience if you have one. Talk to them.