By: Marilyn L. Davis
“. . .If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, whole and alive, fully adapted to its new environment.” ― Mary Gaitskill
Writing for Your Readers
There are 4,393,086 new WordPress blog posts published daily.
That means there’s a lot of competition for readers.
Therefore, it becomes imperative that we spend time isolating our audience and giving them our best. So what are ways to decide who is reading your blog besides your numbers? Sometimes, you work backward and ask yourself:
- Who are my readers for this topic?
- What appeals to these readers?
- What do I have in common with these readers?
- How will I write about this particular topic? Breadth or depth?
- Is this humorous, serious, judgmental, ironic, or amusing?
- What will be my overall style, tone, or mood for this piece?
- Is this personal but detached or passionate?
- Can I cover this well in 500, 1000, or 1500 words?
- What aspect of this subject or topic do I intend to write about in 750-1000 words?
- Do I expand the post and write 2500 words?
Define Your Readers and Their Interests
Where will I find my readers? Are they on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or some new platform? Click To Tweet
When you decide who you want to write for, then you have a better idea of how to frame your perspective. Your perspective will include research which supports your position. These outbound links will also aid in your SEO.
However, in a rush to publish helpful blogs about any subject, we sometimes mistakenly believe that we have to fully define and explore all the subtle nuances of the topic so we can engage all readers. We shouldn’t try to do this.
Bloggers are not writing a white paper, research paper, book, or thesis. We’re giving readers short, easily read nuggets of information, entertaining essays, or simple how-to directions.
Spending time on the structure of the posts means that you can be creative within the confines of a solid format or outline. The structure is critical, because, without a logical flow to the piece, readers get lost, disinterested, or confused. When that happens, they will go elsewhere for the information.
Your Blog Takes Planning
Making any post cohesive takes planning – not inspiration, insight, or creativity. Those come after the writer decides the topic or has that brainstorm title.
We are often isolating a particular aspect of the subject and giving the reader our opinion or our experience specific to the topic.
Granted, we may back it up with links to other like-minded individuals, or even present a contrasting viewpoint, but we do not attempt to present the whole.
Defining Your Primary Purpose for the Blog or Post
Without planning the blog post, it is easy to become disconnected, disjointed and disorganized. When you outline your topic, it is easier to define and isolate your main ideas. Click To Tweet
Our primary purpose in a blog or post is to present information appealingly or state the same information in an engaging, timely manner using our creativity to engage those we’ve selected as our target reader.
We also have to present our writing in an organized manner, so we don’t confuse our readers and ourselves with extraneous information.
When you plan and outline your posts, you’re more likely to create a piece that includes the facts, but allows you to elaborate on them from your perspective.
Your readers appreciate your viewpoint, style, or the fact that you add value in numerous ways to your posts. For these reasons, they will return and do their part – they’ll read it.
Content is Critical, Not Word Count
Our content still determines our outcomes – how we rank, what kind of following we have, and whether readers leave comments. Certain writers can make a case in 200 words; others need 2000.
Is one better than the other? Not necessarily. Some subjects are exhausted at 500 words, while others need 2000 to increase reader awareness.
While Twitter is best known for restricting character length, most sites allow a minimum of 300 words and establish the maximum at 2500.
Just as we vary sentence and paragraph length, it’s okay for a writer to create a short post. Shorter, concise information is now a part of our culture; make it part of your unified writing.
But if you tend to write 500 words or less each time, try expanding on one aspect of your topic and see if you can’t produce a more in-depth post while still staying unified.
All you have to do is look at one of your main ideas as it relates to your original topic and expand on that.
After all, if you’ve identified your readers and they are coming to read your post, they’ll be interested in even the tangential or different aspects of the topic. And then you can focus less on those other 4,393,086 other posts and concentrate on yours.
Where Did You Find Your Readers?
Let me know in comments what type of blog you’re writing and where you’ve found readers. This information will be useful to all of us here at Two Drops of Ink. Thanks.
Bio: Marilyn L. Davis
As the editor-in-chief at Two Drops of Ink, Marilyn wants to encourage other writers to share their creativity and talents. She believes in the power of words and knows that how something is said is just as important as what is said.
Her focus at Two Drops of Ink is providing readers with posts that entertain, educate, and enchant them with memoir, fiction, writing advice, punctuation problems, grammar shorts, and poetry.
Editing, revising, finding the bones, and taking the time to develop posts with writers is something she enjoys, because she understands that Two Drops of Ink is a collaborative effort, and that takes teamwork.
A recovery curriculum author with 30 years of abstinence-based recovery, she advocates for and writes to the addicted population. Her recovery curriculum, Therapeutic Integrated Educational Recovery System (TIERS) offers time-tested exercises for healing. Accountability Courts, other recovery homes, and her residential facility, North House, used this curriculum.
Closing the house in 2011, gave her the opportunity to spread the message that recovery works to a larger audience online. Her other blog, From Addict 2 Advocate explores addiction, recovery, making positive changes, and codependency.
Her primary focus is writing so that more addicts and their families can end their struggles with addiction. She does this through reflective writing, memoir, and sharing her darkest moments so that those still suffering from addictions can know a person who got out of the vicious cycle.
She hopes that through her writing, she encourages the addicted population to make changes and become the best person they can be.
Marilyn is a regular guest writer at The Sober World and Keys to Recovery Newspaper.
In 2019, Marilyn received the Woman of the Year Award and Hero Award in 2017 for her writing on Facebook pages about addiction and recovery. Her passions for writing, recovery, and helping others means that collaboration works for any type of blog.
In 2016, the Friends of Recovery Book Reviewers group awarded her “Best Addiction Writer” of the year.
She is excited that her words may help another recover.
In 2008, Brenau University created the Marilyn Davis Community Service Learning Award: an ongoing award given to individuals advocating for mental health, wellness, and recovery.
In 2010, she was awarded the Liberty Bell Award by the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, given to non-attorneys for contributions to the criminal justice system and communities.
She began advocating for rehabilitation rather than incarceration for non-violent offenders in 1990 and continues to provide treatment services in her job as Program Director at a men’s facility in Georgia.
Two Drops of Ink: The Home for Collaborative Writing
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