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5 Types of Audiences in Writing

When you’re writing something, an awareness of the audience type that will be attracted to the words written must be in place. If you write something that is directed to the wrong audience, then miscommunication is bound to occur. Let’s take a look at the 5 types of audiences in writing and what that means for your approach today.

#1. The Experts

This audience has a substantial amount of knowledge on the subject matter you’re writing about. We often think of experts as someone with a lot of work experience or perhaps a doctorate degree, but someone who has read thousands of mystery novels is an expert audience member for a mystery writer.

When writing for this audience, there really isn’t a need to cover the beginner basics of the subject material. You can get right down to the nitty gritty of what you’re doing. This will make it difficult for other audiences to engage with what you’ve written, but you’ll score high points with those who have large levels of expertise.

#2. The Laypeople

This audience has virtually no knowledge about the topic you’re writing about. Think of these readers as the person who comes in for their first day at work. Their eyes are wide open and they’re trying to absorb as much information as they can so they will know where and how they’ll fit in with everyone.

For this audience, a writer must cover all of the basic details of the subject matter so the readers can follow along. Any technical terms will need to be well-defined. The goal here is to anticipate questions the audience may have and then be able to answer them proactively over the course of your narrative.

#3. The Managers

Unless you’re the CEO and President of your company, there’s someone who has decision-making powers that are greater than yours from a professional standpoint. When writing something for this audience, you must show the readers that you have an informed personal expertise on the subject materials being discussed. Even more than that, the tone of each word has greater importance.

Readers in this group want to see a narrative that is respectful of the greater decision-making power that is held. When criticism must take place within the narrative, it must be done so with great tact. It will only take one mistake to cause these readers in this audience to doubt the value of the writing that has taken place, so do a triple-check on grammar, spelling, and structure before calling your word done.

#4. The Technicians

This audience in writing wants to see the technical details in the words that are being offered. You’ll often see step-by-step guides offered online on how to make or fix things: this is a good example of targeting this audience. Every writer can offer something for this audience, however, if they are aware of the structure of their writing.

Technicians want things to make logical sense. Reading something to them is like playing a game of chess. There might be different paths to an outcome, but the end result is always expected. Avoid putting in twists and turns at the end of your content if targeting this audience so you won’t drive readers away by creating something that doesn’t make sense.

#5. The Hybrids

Think of this audience as a combination of Managers and Experts. These folks know a lot about what you’re writing about and they have high levels of decision-making power. Writing for this audience can be a complex and methodical process that forces you to focus on facts and provable opinions. This audience has already judged you to not be worthy. Your narrative must prove that you are.

One of the most common ways that writers lose this audience is through wasted space. Every sentence – every word – must either move the narrative forward or add depth to it. If that doesn’t happen, then the writing will not be successful.

Writers must then choose which audience is their primary audience and which will be their secondary audience. It is possible to write something that will reach all 5 of these audience groups in some way. Yet there must be one primary audience to whom the words have been intended. If other audiences have reason to be interested in the writing, then they’d become a secondary audience for that writer.

By identifying which audience type is being targeted with the written word, it becomes much easier to move the narrative along in a meaningful way. Choose your audience, then choose your words, and you’ll have a successful writing experience.

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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