When you’re writing, it’s important to be aware of the audience type that your writing will attract. 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 writing approach today.
Audience #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 an expert 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 higher levels of expertise.
Audience #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 answer them proactively over the course of your narrative.
Audience #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 material. 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. When the writer must include criticism within the narrative, she should do so with great tact. It will only take one mistake to cause the readers in this audience to doubt the value of the writing. Do a triple-check on grammar, spelling, and structure before calling your work done.
Audience #4 – The Technicians
This audience in writing wants to see the technical details. You’ll often see step-by-step guides 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.
Audience #5 – The Hybrids
Think of this audience as a combination of Managers and Experts. These folks know a lot about what you’re writing 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 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 you as the writer are targeting 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.