Every writer believes that what they’re saying is important and interesting—not only to themselves, but others, too. We think our unique creativity alone should be enough to build an audience. But the reality is…our audience decides what’s worth paying attention to, not us. This doesn’t mean you should stop writing for your own enjoyment or alter your style and message to suit the masses. It does mean you should pay attention to the desires and needs of your target audience.
Are you writing, blogging, and posting to social media and constantly receiving little response?
Remember: it takes value.
It’s imperative to ensure that your writing is adding value to the lives of your readers.
Wit, skill, intelligence, humor—all of these are great tools that help develop your voice, but tools are not enough to create a committed fan base. Writer Jeff Goins says, “In a world full of noise, the way you get people to care about you is to care about them first.” Showing an interest gains the attention, and eventually trust, of your readers.
Many writers think of their work as art rather than communication with their readers. But even art has an audience, and as a professional writer, you should have a target audience in mind! How can you relate to them? How can you provide pieces of writing that consistently adds value to their lives? How, in turn can they add value to your life?
“This is what it means to add value: listen first, speak second.”
— Jeff Goins
Start by brainstorming. What struggles have you battled? What victories have you seen in your life? What problems do you have that others might also have? How have you solved or are you working on solving those problems? Do you have personal stories to tell? Share what you know, what you’ve learned, and how you’re still growing. Soon you’ll discover your exact niche and connect with the readers that matter.
A few practical ideas to get you started:
- Create an email list. There’s no better way to capture the sustained attention of your dedicated readers and more easily begin conversations.
- Build relationships. Find likeminded/related blogs and begin guest posting to build your audience your own reliability.
- Acknowledge other conversations. Listen to what people are already saying on a particular topic and get informed.
- Engage with people. Leave meaningful comments on the conversations and blogs that you find. Be helpful, not salesy.
- Contribute. Having now researched your niche and observed the conversations happening on certain topics, you’ve probably noticed areas needing improvement. Here’s where you come in.
Start with these steps and repeat with consistency, and your readers are sure to notice and buy in. Don’t believe that just because you build it, they will come. People’s attention must be earned, and the way to do that is by caring first.
“If you have a message the world needs to hear—a book you want to write, a song you want to sing, or simply an idea worth spreading—the way you get others to care about it is to not just come out and share it.”
— Jeff Goins