Those who don’t know generalise, those who do talk in specifics


Is there a topic you’re particularly fond of? Like high-end tea or vintage clothing?

Undoubtedly, someone else shares your interest. If you’re lucky a whole lot of someones may be interested.

They are your target audience.

They are the people who are most likely going to care about what you have to say.

It helps, I’m finding, when writing for a niche not to be bothered about something as ephemeral as “going viral.” For the simple reason that not everyone’s going to care about your interest. After all, how many people care about (or even know about the existence of) high-end tea?

But if you talk with people who do know and who do care, then surely you’re better off than people dismissing your work as boring or uninteresting. Also, your target audience is more likely to buy stuff from you. More likely to read your work and follow you.

Those who do not know generalise: those who do know talk specifics

Generalising is easy. Because you don’t have to go into detail. Saying “oh yeah, that happened” is much easier than saying, “oh yeah, I remember the time we got into that fight and you split that guy’s cheek and we both ended up suspended over a bridge by our ankles.”

The second one is so much more interesting, it speaks to the person’s knowledge of the event. It shows that person is paying attention. And it gives the audience something to work with.

Which, after all, is what’s important: giving something to your audience. If you can’t gain and then maintain your audience’s attention, what are you doing?

I enjoy writing. I do it every day. Most of the writing I do will never see the light of day; because it’s writing for writing’s sake.

When I publish something I try and think whether or not someone else, even just one person, will care enough to read it. Not just care, but be interested enough to click through and read the whole thing.

More often than not this works, but on occasion it fails miserably. With some topics, there is just no knowing if an audience is going to like it until the piece is published.

For example I write mostly about books; more specifically the act of reading and writing. So far it would seem people are genuinely interested in “why reading is a social activity” But they are less interested in the “value of audiobooks.”

Admittedly, the first one is a much more interesting idea. Most people would not equate reading with being social. But it is. Don’t believe me? Read the blog and you’ll see what I mean.

The value of audiobooks is a little less interesting. After all, for someone to click through to that blog they’ve got to be in some way interested in the idea of audiobooks, so straight away the audience shrinks.

Write what you know: and remember your audience

The number of blogs who forget the reader surprises me. Too many writers forget that no one cares. The only reason to read a blog is because it’s interesting. So if a writer creates some tedious fluff piece no one’s going to read it.

There’s a time and place to show off one’s literary skills. And a blog post is not always the best place to do it.

I write about writing, reading and books. Occasionally I talk about the value of typewriters over laptops, and why reading trashy pop-culture books isn’t — entirely — a bad thing.

So the topics I cover are not exactly novel, but there is an audience for it. And those are the ones who I talk to.

And the good thing is, you can tell if a blog post is good or not by the reaction it receives. Your content is validated by the audience, after all, how can you say you’ve written the best blog post ever if no one reads it? Is it still the best blog post ever?

Thank you for reading


Originally published at www.linkedin.com.

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