Blogging for Your Target Audience

Unpublished writers' blogs are a strange beast. They're part community-building, part writing practice, and part planning for a hopeful future in which we need a platform. It's that last bit I want to talk about today.

Aspiring writers who blog are sometimes told they shouldn't write for other writers. I can understand that. I mean, you want to reach your future target audience (who is interested in your books), not other writers (who may or may not be). But I wonder why my future audience (who wants to read my books, but doesn't write themselves) would be interested in my blog if I don't actually have any books (especially with all these parentheticals)?

Here's the thing. Your target audience is, in fact, a moving target.

I'm not saying there's no merit in expanding your blog topics to other things. There is, but I don't think Professional Aspiring Writers should feel like they can't blog about writing either. Because at the moment, the writing community is our target audience.

Tobias Buckell ran down his readership stats the other day, and one thing that interested me was that, early on, he lost over half his readers when he became published. He says it's because he was no longer talking to "writers trying to sell a novel (large pool), but to writers who had already sold a novel and were trying to figure out what to do (very much smaller pool)." Gradually, he shifted his blog to broader topics, tangentially related to his novels.

Could he have avoided that drop by shifting his blog sooner? Maybe. Or maybe that new audience wouldn't have been as interested in his opinion before he was a published author. Also maybe those early years of blogging to aspiring writers was needed networking for him.

I don't know. My point is that, either way, it's okay. I think the platform-building (future audience) is a good idea, both for practice and laying the groundwork. I think the community-building (current audience) is also good for networking and (in my case) general sanity.

So don't feel like you have to blog one way or another. Do think about your future audience, but don't stress about them, because if you're like me, you have an audience here right now. Maybe it'll change one day, but you can change with it. It'll be all right.


Matthew MacNish said...

Thanks for introducing me to Tobias' blog. It's very interesting.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

For me, my Reading Audience and my Blogging Audience are overlapping circles, the intersection of which are awesome friends that like to read my work. This is part of why I had two "phases" to my recent book launch - one, a party I invited my blogging audience to join in, the second is me traveling around to meet (and hopefully expand) my reading audience. But the blog's main purpose, even though I'm published, is still networking. And, yanno, it's fun. :)

The Writer said...

If I lost my 'fellow writers' following I would have zero followers! Yikes! lol.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Great post. I've often wondered about this: Should my blog be more for teenagers? What good is this actually doing me? This post helps me to relax and go with the flow, which is the way I like to live anyway. :)


Nancy Thompson said...

Networking & general sanity...that's perfect! And through networking, we find critique partners who help improve our writing or even hook us up with their agent. As for the sanity, well yes, it's true, I'd be a complete basket case if I didn't have my blog friends to prop me up on occasion, course correct me on others, & give me a gentle shove forward on a weekly basis.

jeanettepowell said...

I am writing for two reasons, one I am writing a book on my life. And two I am doing a paper on blogs and pich this one.

my tittle is audience and demographics, I need to know what age groups do this blog, I will be researching on statistics on this site. Hope to hear from you. jeanett