Oftentimes, when I write, I think only about what I want to write. I think about whether or not it’s going to be grammatically correct or whether or not it’s going to make sense. I think of the content and how I’m going to feel after I write it, but oddly enough, I don’t think about how it’s going to be received nearly as much as I should. Let me say that again, but this time in simpler terms. I don’t think about you enough. I don’t think about my audience and how they’ll interpret my words. Far too often, all I think about is myself and the impact my writing has on me. Me, me, me.
And that’s not right. It’s not right at all.
Let me ask you something. What the heck is the point of writing something if no one likes it? After producing a few pieces, any potential audience will have become fed up with my expression and will surely cast me aside. I’ll have no one and I’ll end up writing for myself in a dark closet somewhere. Is that what I want? Are you a writer? Is that what you want? I think I can answer that for both of us when I say, no, it’s not what either us us wants.
I think the point I’m trying to make is that instead of thinking about me, I need to think about you. I need to make a connection with you, the reader, so you can better understand what I’m attempting to convey. I need to take the ideas I’ve come up with and apply them to your situation. I need to be more careful and I need to pay attention. After all, you are the reason I do what I do. I need you.
Let’s talk about blogging for a moment. Blogging is a unique beast because it started out and still is a medium in which we choose to express ourselves, in sometimes very intimate ways, to the outside world. I don’t know of many private blogs, so I’m assuming this is what this type of website was intended for. I’ve read many wonderful blog posts through the years and I have to admit, I’ve been delighted by most of them. What I particularly enjoy is the way the author opens up and exposes their vulnerabilities. When that happens, I instantly feel as though I can trust the writer and that I can relate. And that relation goes a long way. It goes from me simply reading something that a stranger wrote to me reading something that a friend wrote. After a few months or years, it can feel as though I even know the person.
As bloggers, if we want to build an audience and be portrayed as good writers, we need to care deeply for our audiences. We need to think of them every minute while working and we need to be sure that we connect with them as closely as possible. We have to create a stir inside of them somewhere that initiates a return visit. It’s that kind of writing, or blogging, that’s going to make you believe you’re doing something worthwhile and it’s also going to cultivate an audience that wholeheartedly appreciates your words.
Let me ask you something. When you read an article, blog post, note, email – whatever, what’s one thing that can throw you for a loop and cause you to lose your connection with the author? For me, that’s happened through the use of foreign expressions that I’m not familiar with. Ones that are used in other countries and places around the world. In the U.S., where I live, we have tons of expressions that we use every day to evoke playfulness or seriousness. I’ve actually used a few in this post itself. I don’t know how many folks around the world use the phrase “tons” to express “lots.” I also don’t know how many people in other countries know what a “unique beast” is or what “create a stir” means. Using these phrases probably isn’t the best route to take on my part, but I also know that most of my audience knows who I am and where I’m from. I try. I should actually try a bit harder and think of expressions that are clear for everyone to understand. I think that’s a pretty good rule to follow. To make sure my playful expressions can be easily understood by anyone who may be reading what I’ve written.
Another symptom of my sometimes haphazard writing is having my readers feel as though my tone is inappropriate, due to the fact that something I’ve written is misunderstood. This goes hand in hand with what I just stated above. Cultural divisions can sometimes create confusion and it’s our job as writers and bloggers to research and understand those divisions so we can do a better job with connecting with our audiences. Again, there’s that connection I’ve been referring to. In order to fully connect with our audiences, we need to cultivate a very specific sensitivity each and every day we express ourselves, whether in public or in private.
Here’s another question. How can we be sure we’re appreciating who we’re writing for and how can we be sure we’re making the connection with our readers that we so badly desire? A good trick is to first think of one person who you think will be reading what you’ve written. Think about who they are and what they’re looking for. Then, read what you’ve written back to yourself, out loud, but as you do that, pretend that you are the person you just thought of. There’s no need to pretend that you’re writing for some unknown enormous audience some place out there in this big world. All you need to do is pretend that you’re writing for a lone individual. If you read back what you’re written and if you think you’ve done a good job, you most likely have. The trick here is to fully recognize who that lone person is. The more you can put yourself into their shoes, the better you’ll ultimately do.
Overall, good writing comes from an intimate knowledge of your audience. You need to recognize what they value, how they speak and what they enjoy. It’s also important to understand your reader’s perspectives. It’s good to follow this suggestion when writing all types of things, not only articles and blog posts. Sticky notes, emails, resumes and even love letters. Understanding and respecting your readers will work wonders when it comes time for your readers to make the decision to either love you or pass your next piece on by. Rise to the level of an excellent writer. Avoid thinking of yourself when writing. Think of your reader and you will go far.
Do you have any tips that you’d like to share in regards to connecting with your readers? If so, I’d love to hear about them down below.