by Deb Ng
When you accept an assignment, what’s the first thing you do? Depending on the task, one might assume you either begin writing or researching the subject matter. Perhaps you Google the topic or go to the library. You might even call a few experts to interview. Do you research the readership as well? If not, you might consider moving this to the top of your list.
It’s not enough to simply write an article or blog post. Knowing who you’re writing for will help to set the tone and ensure you have the correct focus.
Trust Me, It Matters
Clients should give us all the information we need, but we can’t always count on them to do so. They might overlook certain details or not know exactly what we need. For instance, your client might ask for an article on proper nutrition for large dogs. The request is simple enough and you could probably write in general terms. Knowing your client runs a website for St. Bernard breeders will help you to narrow your focus.
When writing an article or blog post you might wish to:
- Learn your client’s demographics – Knowing a website or magazine is geared towards children or adults will make all the difference in the world, as will knowing if you’re writing for men or women. Knowing readers’ political affiliation, religion and income levels might also help set the tone. You can find these things out by reading blog comments, visiting forums and reading other articles.
- Ask about a blog or websites stats - What do people search for? Where are they coming from? Which articles on the blog or website are most popular? This doesn’t mean you have to copy past articles, but it does give you a good indication as to why people visit the website.
- Research the client, his publication, website or blog - This is a great way to learn more about him and his mission. What is his goal? What is he hoping to accomplish with these writings? Read his bio or the About page on his website, you might find helpful details there as well.
What If I Can’t Tell Who I’m Writing For?
None of this advice helps if you have a vague client who doesn’t give you much to go on or you can’t seem to get any details from his website. Find out who you are writing for. Your client will no doubt appreciate your learning who his readers are and tailoring your story to meet their needs.
How Can You Establish Yourself As An Authority If You Don’t Know Who You’re Writing For?
Most of us have clients who hire us because we have a better ability to communicate. With that in mind, we can’t always trust them to give us all the information we need to write the best articles we can. As writers it’s up to us to research every single angle. As authorities in our niches, it’s up to us to make sure we’re speaking to our audiences. Knowing who our readers are and what they are looking for is one of the most important tasks of the gig. If our clients don’t tell us who we’re writing for, it’s up to us to find out.