What do Janet Evanovich and Dan Kennedy have in common?
They both sell a LOT of books.
I once heard Janet Evanovich speak about writing on a CD from the Mystery Writers of America. She mentioned that the success of her Stephanie Plum humorous mystery series is due in part to the fact that she understands who her readers are, and what they expect.
Dan Kennedy is an incredibly successful direct marketing and sales guru who has helped thousands improve their marketing messages and increase sales.
They both know the importance of studying their target market and writing for that market.
They know that if you create an expectation in your audience, and then you change the rules, you will disappoint that audience. The result is a drop in readership or sales.
Meet Their Expectations
Dan Kennedy tells us that the more you know about your market, the better your message will address their needs. It can surprise them, make them laugh, move them, but it had better be something they can relate to. If not, they’ll stop reading.
Bloggers are also told to determine who their audience is and then write for our audience. To answer the questions we think our readers will have.
When I spoke at a Toastmasters district conference some years back about working wonders with words, the first point I made was to know who your audience is, and then speak to them. Their language, their needs, their expectations. Then you’ll have…their ears. They’ll sit up and pay attention.
So it pays to have in mind that “ideal reader,” as you sit down to write and as you edit.
Keep Your Reader in Mind
The point is to keep that reader in mind as you write, and strive to meet their expectations. Don’t cheat by creating an expectation for a frothy, humorous romp and moving into a serious, gut-wrenching diatribe. Don’t switch from language that’s direct and clear to elevated vocabulary and over-inflated sentences. You’ll lose your readers and you’ll lose their respect.
Worst of all, don’t drone on and on and on. And on.
How do you figure out who your ideal reader is?