Who Are You Writing For?

writing-with-penI love reading updates from my peers, particularly in Utah where I live, as well as other States and Nations that have great blogs. I subscribe to them, in part because I enjoy receiving their updates and what they’re up to, but also because I love to see them post new things and I want to support that practice. I love to see people write, especially amongst my peers because that is how the world can learn about them. A blog, as opposed to a Facebook update or Twitter, gives me the opportunity to see much more of who they are, what they are up to, as well as learn more about their expertise in the areas they like to share.

I see a trend amongst my tech peers here in Utah as well as other places though that I think may be limiting their potential. Many of them are writing for their local state’s or area’s audience, or perhaps even their family and friends, rather than seeing the potential that others outside of their inner circles could be reading their blog.  I admit I am guilty of this.

I went through this early on with this blog if you read over the history. There was awhile I wasn’t quite sure of who my audience was. I wrote my blog as more of a way to get my thoughts recorded for myself, rather than consider that others could be reading this down the road. Some times I would write very techie stuff documenting my progress on a few projects I was working on. Some times I would write stuff about my close family, or maybe even local events that a national or worldwide audience may not be quite as interested in. Occasionally I would delve into religious topics. All this is okay, so long as I recognize that those are the audiences I’m targeting. I’m not sure at the time I did.

It wasn’t until I started recognizing that this blog was more than just a local blog for me and my close friends that this blog began to start getting traffic and taking off.  Once I began seriously researching and writing topics, acting as though it were a blog for a national or worldwide audience, people started to listen.  Sure, it was and still is and will always be my personal blog, but I have changed my perception of who my audience is, and who it could be.   I treated it as how it could become.  Because of that I’m achieving my original purposes of sharing things I learn with even greater impact than ever before.

When you’re writing, you should consider who you’re writing for:

If you’re writing for your close friends and family, that is who will read it…  If you’re writing for just people in your local city or state, that is who will read it…  If you’re writing for your religion or faith, that is who will read it…  If you write for a national or worldwide audience, that is who will read it… If you write for TechCrunch or Mashable or Scoble or Louis Gray or Guy Kawasaki, that is who will read it…

Do you want more eyes on your content?  Which of the above audiences will bring the most eyes?  What are your purposes for your blog?  Look long and hard and spend some time determining this.  Which one will have the biggest impact on achieving your goals in the long-run?  After you do so, look at the above audiences, and then determine which one you need to start writing for.

Most importantly, start writing!  Something is always better than nothing.

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13 thoughts on “Who Are You Writing For?

  1. Great post Jesse, and it resonates with my own reasons for writing. Imagine back to before you began writing, and how you thought of it. Now compare that to what you know about it's value as a memory assistant, communication platform, idea engine. I can't measure the overall effect of blogging/writing but I couldn't imagine my life without it now.

    I need to catch up on some reading. Your recent posts, and a few of my other super human filters, or mortal portals- @LouisGray is going to get rich off of my comments, another nickel…

    Like

  2. I think I went to the opposite extreme: for the first year, I _only_ wrote the long, researched posts. The purpose of the blog was to establish a technical reputation – all of my engineering work has been on relatively expensive networking products which most people have never heard of. The blog was intended to be something I could point to publicly. So I only wrote the deep, meaty articles. I struggled to post twice per month, sometimes only once.

    Nobody read it.

    I kept at it because of one anomalous success. My very first post parked itself at #1 on the programming reddit for a day. Thousands of people read it, there were dozens of comments, etc. I thought that was how blogging was supposed to work: you post, 20k people read it, then you do it again. Of course, its never happened since.

    A few months ago I realized the blog had become just another chore, and the thought of continuing it wasn't fun. So I started posting more varied topics: something short, funny, yet vaguely technical on mondays, longer posts on thursdays, and short little snippets whenever the mood strikes. This is working better for me.

    Now its much more fun to write, and _almost_ nobody reads it. That is progress.

    Like

  3. I think that's changed a lot over the years. With Social Networking tools
    now it's a lot easier for people to discover your content if it's good and
    something worth sharing for their audience. I probably wouldn't have
    discovered you if it weren't for FriendFeed. There are so many connections,
    people, and blogs I've been able to come into contact now because of it.
    You should try again! But yes, if you're not having fun doing it, stick
    with what's fun!

    Like

  4. I think about that every time I start a new post. Because it is a personal blog, I try to mix up the topics with articles that I am passionate about at that moment. I don't write about social media, web, or technology all of the time, because my family does not understand it, nor do they care.

    Not trying to be everything to everyone, but I recognize I have readers who are interested in more than just one thing.

    Thanks for making me think today!

    Like

  5. Damond, exactly – so long as you're writing for those whom you want to read
    your blog you're doing the right thing. I know my family doesn't read my
    blog and I'm okay with that. That's not the same for everyone, and there
    are perfect ways to write for both personal, family, and a larger audience
    so long as you're considering them all when you write.

    Like

  6. Damond, exactly – so long as you're writing for those whom you want to read
    your blog you're doing the right thing. I know my family doesn't read my
    blog and I'm okay with that. That's not the same for everyone, and there
    are perfect ways to write for both personal, family, and a larger audience
    so long as you're considering them all when you write.

    Like

  7. I think I went to the opposite extreme: for the first year, I _only_ wrote the long, researched posts. The purpose of the blog was to establish a technical reputation – all of my engineering work has been on relatively expensive networking products which most people have never heard of. The blog was intended to be something I could point to publicly. So I only wrote the deep, meaty articles. I struggled to post twice per month, sometimes only once.

    Nobody read it.

    I kept at it because of one anomalous success. My very first post parked itself at #1 on the programming reddit for a day. Thousands of people read it, there were dozens of comments, etc. I thought that was how blogging was supposed to work: you post, 20k people read it, then you do it again. Of course, its never happened since.

    A few months ago I realized the blog had become just another chore, and the thought of continuing it wasn't fun. So I started posting more varied topics: something short, funny, yet vaguely technical on mondays, longer posts on thursdays, and short little snippets whenever the mood strikes. This is working better for me.

    Now its much more fun to write, and _almost_ nobody reads it. That is progress.

    Like

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