036 - Know Your Audience

Why It’s Important To Give People What They Want


Welcome to the Editor’s Journal; A daily thought on writing, the creative process, art, work, the world and how it all goes together. Every morning I rise early, I sit here in the quiet of my kitchen and I write whatever’s prominent. I have a bunch of article ideas saved, so I’ll either pull from them or write something new. I also write at larrygmaguire.com. I hope you enjoy the read.


So there I am, sitting quietly at the bar with my mate Tony, a fresh pint of Guinness sitting in front of me, anticipation for my first swallow building.

The boozer is pretty much empty apart from a French couple and a scattering of Monday night locals.

A nice few quiet pints and some light conversation is just what I’m after, but the peace and quiet is about to be broken.

Tommy Flannery (not his real name) a local bloke kicks off on the floor to my left with amp speakers that could do the job for an outside performance to thousands.

“Holy fuck”, says I. “There’s hardly need for this!”

But hold on, Tommy seems to be able to play. He’s on guitar and sucking on the harmonica and I kind of like what I’m hearing at first. Then he starts to sing…

The guy has a voice but he can’t use it.

The songs are shit and he has so many bad karaoke habits it’s not funny. I’m sitting not 2 feet from my mate Tony and we can’t hear a word each other is saying.

Meh…[looks at the floor and shakes head from side to side].

“C’mon Tony, I’ll give you a game of pool. Best of 5, alright?”

The Tumbleweed Didn’t Even Show Up

I like my tunes, love my tunes in fact. I’m no music critic although I like to think I can tell a good singer/musician from a bad one.

As I said, Tommy can play, that was obvious to me, the bloke had talent. But for fuck sake, his singing was woeful!

He seemed to have a voice in there somewhere but to my discerning ear, he was using it all wrong. He sounded like a cross between Ronan Keating and Daniel O’Donnell.

Overall it was an assassination on my earballs.

Now I have to give the bloke his dues. It was a Monday night and the place was pretty much empty. That’s a tough station for any musician.

He was doing his best to give a good performance, but my question to myself was; where were his followers?

The boozer was so quiet even the tumbleweed didn’t show up. Surely to God, there are punters that follow this guy, right? He couldn’t be that shit.

The barmen seemed to know him and he had conversation with others at the bar during his set. His name was on the entertainment poster pinned to the wall so he was a regular.

Maybe he was shit all the time and the landlady stuck him in there to fill a quiet Monday night hole.

Either way, he wasn’t doing anything for himself tonight and my quiet few Monday night holiday pints was fucked.


The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. It’s available from 13th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.

Know Your Audience

It was just after 11 pm and a bunch of young lads about 18 or 19 came into the bar. They were local kids and knew the barmen so they sat, had a couple drinks and chatted.

They had some banter too with Tommy who was still belting out the cheesy tunes at hyper decibel levels.

By Midnight more of their crew arrived into the bar and things were getting a little livelier.

Tommy decides to whack out his rendition of Wonderwall and low and behold, the place starts rocking.

The youngsters love it and start singing along word for word.

“Holy shit”, says I. “something’s happening here, maybe this fella knows his audience after all”. Next thing Tommy whacks out a Kasabian number and the 19-year-olds are lapping it up.

Tommy seems to be on to something.

But then all of a sudden he ends his set. They place falls silent and Tommy starts wrapping things up. It seems all a bit premature.

What’s The Story With Tommy The Shit Singer?

Tommy Flannery’s set was kind of all over the shop to me. The tunes he chose to sing didn’t follow any kind of order, it was a pick n mix.

Sometimes this approach works but tonight it didn’t.

His singing was far too plastic, it wasn’t his own. He did have a voice, I could hear it beneath his fake Ronan Keating style, but he wasn’t letting it out.

There was something disingenuous about the whole thing.

Where were his fans, his followers?

Does he know his audience, does he even have one?

Did he do any promo for the gig?

Was he on social media?

Did he tell friends and family about it?

What marketing did Tommy do to let people know about his Monday night show?

He only started playing music the punters liked late in the night, and just as things were getting going he pulled the pin — very strange.

You know what, maybe he doesn’t give a fuck. Maybe he gets a few free pints from the landlady to show up on a quiet Monday night in the local and maybe get a few punters in.

But he could be doing better.

Know Your Audience

Artist’s and creative people like you need to get your stuff out there under the noses of people who’ll buy from you.

You need to know your audience. You need to take the time to put people through the sieve and filter out the ones who don’t value your work.

It doesn’t take much to build a solid following of people who love what you do but you gotta put the work in.

This is what I’m doing every day I get on the keyboard. I’m refining my voice, I’m putting you through the sieve. If you got this far into the article then you like my stuff and I’m doing something right.

If I lost you at the first paragraph then that’s fine, my material wasn’t relevant to you.

Every day we’ve got to show up. We’ve got to put the work in if we are to make a living or something better.

So know your audience, take the time to find them and create stuff that they like to consume. Come to the table every day to refine your voice.

Be genuine, say it like you see it, write how you speak, make your own music.


Originally published at larrygmaguire.com on July 18, 2017.

The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. It’s available from 13th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.

Like More of This Kind of Thing?

Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write about art, creativity, business & marketing. When I’m not doing that I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.