Compelling writing: Who’s your audience?

Shakespeare could probably imagine an entire theatre full of people. There would be the aged dowagers and the raucous twenty-somethings, the wealthy in the boxes and the less well-off downstairs. He could think of ways to make each of them laugh or cry.

compelling writing starts with audienceYou do not have to be Shakespeare. Not even close. You do, however, have to think about your audience. You are at the desk, pen or keyboard in hand. Who will read what you write?

This may seem like an obvious question to ask, and an easy one to answer. “My boss.” “The donors to our organization.” “Our newsletter readers.” Great. You have your audience in mind. Now peel one more layer of the onion.

The question that takes you one level deeper is “what do they care about?” Answer this either with the broadest of sweeps — “better healthcare” — or connect it to your organization. Either one will work. Anchor yourself as close to the perspective of your audience as you can get. Because unless you can put yourself close to your readers, what you write may sail on past their heads. If you can’t get close enough to see the world at least partially as they see it, you need to do more research.

Then start typing, or press your quill to paper. And make your readers laugh or cry.