There is a huge difference between writing for ourselves and deciding that we want to write and have someone else bear witness to what we have to say. The moment that we open ourselves up in that way, we subject ourselves to varying pressures from the outside world. Am I good enough? Did I say this right? Does anyone care?
Does anyone care? For the most part? Not at first. It’s called audience building for a reason. However many years ago when I created my first Blogspot post, there was no one who cared. I would literally put a post on my personal Facebook page that I wrote a new blog post and 4 or 5 people would actually take the time to go read it. This has changed significantly for me over the last four years.
Getting people to care starts with knowing what you have to say.
Knowing what you have to say only comes from writing. A lot. From journaling. From seeing your themes in writing. From your own self-discovery. From pouring into the page. Once you get that out of the way, then you can start to get a little more strategic about who the other people are that may be healed, motivated, or humored by your musings.
The next part in getting people to care is caring about them. Think about some of your favorite brands, musicians, artists. Have you ever heard from them? Have they ever responded to a tweet? Or like a photo of their album cover that you posted? If you have ever had that experience, remember how it made you feel? You spent your money on them without them knowing you existed. Imagine how much more you’d probably spend if they recognized and acknowledged your appreciation of them?
You cannot just expect an audience to think that you are the greatest thing in the world.
You have to be “audience minded.” You have to think about how to get your work to them. How will they know you exist? What places do you need to go to meet them? And you have to think about how your work affects them. What does it do for them? What are they getting in exchange for the 3-10 minutes they spend reading what you have to say?
This cannot always be simplified into a lead magnet or upgrade either. It’s not about giving me a checklist because I read your post. This, of course, depends on what you write about. Those things do have their place. But some of the most gratifying things that I have read have given me hope. That is not tangible. But it is something that has led me back to my favorite writers’ work time and time again. You have to have something to offer the world and the moment that you aren’t just writing in a journal, it has to be about the reader too.
I am going to give you a few important tips on building your audience, but one of the most important things to keep in mind is that an audience takes TIME to build. I know, no one in our generation likes to hear that word. But I promise you, the writer that you think is so poppin and has umpteen followers have to build to get there. Great writing spreads. Yes, you have to learn to be intentional and strategic, but you also have to learn how to create very good content as well.
::: Ashley M. Coleman, Author and Writing Coach
Keys to Audience Building:
Knowing who they are
1. Who are you trying to reach?
2. What do they like? Other than reading posts, what do they do? What shows do they like? What other blogs do they read?
3. How does your writing affect them?
1. When people comment, answer them back. And not just, “thanks for reading.” Engage them in a real life convo.
2. Same thing for Twitter which is a great way to connect with your audience as a writer. Don’t just favorite, engage. Thank people for sharing your work, it goes a long way.
3. Engage in the community that you want your audience to be. If you know you cater to other writers, find things that you can be a part of that include writers. When you are genuinely interested in the things that interest your audience, you will find ways to connect and tell them about what you do.
Putting Yourself Out there
1. You cannot be afraid of self-promotion. Remember that your message is bigger than you and your embarrassment of being a narcissist. Get over it and put the word out.
2. Guest Post. If you have other blogs that are similar to yours or that attract the audience you want to reach, see if you can write something for them or collaborate in some way. You have to learn the skill of cross-pollinating.
3. Create interactive content. Whether that is a writing challenge, videos, Insta-Stories or Snaps, utilize some of the multi-media resources that you have to send people back to the writing.