In March, I was blessed to attend the Carolina Christian Writers Conference in Spartanburg, SC. It was a busy two days of learning, wonderful worship, networking, meeting with editors and agents, and making new friends. I left, filled with lots of memories, more people to pray for, a few action items, and a mind full of new ideas and suggestions.
One that stands out for me was to create a collage of my audience. The idea is to place this image in front of me as I write. This visual cue reminds me of who my target audience is; to whom I am writing. As a semi-retired rancher who enjoys my rural lifestyle, I have a pat answer about my target audience. I offer this response almost every time an agent or editor asks.
“My primary target audience consists of farmers and ranchers across rural America and the world who spend their days working to care for and protect God’s beautiful creations. They are mostly Christian, with at least a high school education, family oriented, and range in age between twenty-five and eighty-five.”
The speaker who suggested this collage approach is a respected, best-selling author with a wealth of experience, knowledge, and wisdom. What I came to understand is that just as my books and articles change, so must my target audience. When writing about my buddy “Bubba the chocolate lab”, my audience includes dog lovers. In writing about cattle ranching, my target is those who work hard every day, dealing with the challenges of raising cattle. Safely moving thousand pound beasts with nothing but their next meal on their minds is a challenge.
As a Christian writer, I recognized some days later my primary target is always God. Since I don’t know what God looks like as a physical being, I rely on the closest thing I know to represent Him, His Son Jesus Christ. Everyone else who makes up my target audience may or may not reflect Him. I’m convinced that if I focus my writing to bring glory to God and to please Him with my efforts, then He’ll do the rest.Who do you write to? Click To Tweet
When I created my Audience Collage to place on my desktop, I placed Jesus Christ front and center. If I keep my focus on Him while writing, then He’ll direct my writing to His intended audience, not mine.
18 thoughts on “My Audience”
A wonderful message. I attended the Carolina Christian Writers Conference, too. What a great conference! I can’t wait for next year. With my writing, I pray the words will led others closer to God.
Yes ma’am; you sure were. I remember seeing you there, I think we were in a class together on Friday. Sorry we didn’t get more time to get to know one another. Your writing definitely encourages others and brings God much glory. Thank you for all your kind words my friend.
J. D. I often write to my younger self or to someone in my Bible study. I think knowing your audience helps make your writing better.
Thank you Ms. Debbie. I love the idea of “writing to my younger self.” There are so many things I wish I had know, or had listened to, when I was younger. I agree that knowing the audience for our writing helps us to stay focused. Am so glad to know that you, like me, write to please and honor God first and foremost. God’s blessings ma’am.
Excellent discussion, my friend.
Thank you so very much Ms. Karen. I so appreciate your comments ma’am; every bit as much as all the other encouragement and guidance you give. What a blessing you are!
Great thoughts. When I worked on the church staff we created a couple who became our target audience. We actually made huge figures of them that sat in our conference room so as we planned we could actually see our target. I probably don’t fit your audience description. I read your blog because I love reading about your ranch and the cows.
What a great idea Ms. Gerry. Stand my audience front and center so that every time I walk into my den to write, they’re staring at me. Now that’s motivation. I can see I need to expand my audience profile my friend; because I most definitely want to include you sweet sister in Christ. 🙂
Beautiful! We always have an audience of One to please first. Thanks for reminding us.
Amen! So good to hear from you Ms. Marilyn. Prayers all is well. Your comments are so “spot on” today. If we write what pleases God, then we’ve hit His intended target. When I hear feedback from others about how something I’ve written touches, or helps, them, I immediately thank God for guiding me in their direction. It’s like being in the “blessing delivery service.” I like it! 🙂
J.D., I often write a message that I needed to hear sometime in the past. To reach those struggling in a faith or family crisis, to strengthen their walk with Jesus, to inspire them to work for our Lord. I love your thought of picturing Jesus as the center of your target audience. After all, we’re writing to bring glory and honor to Him–to be a witness for Him. Just makes good sense to put Him right there in the forefront.
Thanks Ms. Katherine. Am finding that more and more of my writing follows that same path. I write about things I’ve learned, experienced, or struggled (still struggling) through. I pray it helps others; I’m certain it helps me. God’s blessings ma’am.
I am part of a writing program and one of our early exercises is to create an audience profile. I have that on my wall to remind me who I write to. I love the idea of creating a collage!
Thank you Ms. Denise. I have my collage on my desktop (wallpaper); and it’s a good reminder of who I am writing to. Your writing program sounds like an exciting way to learn. Looking forward to seeing more of your work ma’am. For me, when I sit down to write, I find starting with prayer helps; asking for God’s guidance. God’s blessings young lady.
I write to homeschooling moms and families with young kids, JD. I love the collage approach, and I especially love your “audience of One, front and center, the main focus of our writing!
Your target audience is certainly one needing lots of prayer and guidance Ms. Julie. Am so glad you’re in their corner ma’am. Thank you for your kind words. You’re right! Keeping Christ front and center in our writing helps us remain in His will. God’s blessings Ms. Julie.
I love your collage idea. I’d love to create one. But I have to admit, I’ve never thought out who my audience is. It’s so eclectic. Friends (mostly believers, though not all), family, book readers & writers, children, those looking for a laugh or a household tip. I write both serious and tongue-in-cheek. (It’s why my hastag is #thotsANDtips.)
But would I put Jesus right in the center, as you do?
Your simple post has convicted me.
I think you just defined your target audience Ms. Jackie. You might refine it a bit with more specifics, but you certainly have an audience profile there. I’m far from being knowledgeable about “tribe building”, etc., but I think we should consider what is the goal of our writing. Is it to sell books, help others, or spread God’s light by inspiring others. That, for me, helps me to refine my audience. If I’m not selling anything, I don’t have to worry about that first one. LOL As for Christ and where He fits in our “collage”, I think most importantly is that we keep Him centered in our lives. Then He can use us however He decides. God’s blessings ma’am.