The No. 1 writing tip for leaders to reach their audience
Since I possess limited cyberspace skills, a book I helped an internet marketing whiz write last year was a most instructive experience.
While hard-pressed to explain his approach in much detail, his thesis can be boiled down to this: identify your ideal customer and then focus your marketing on that individual.
Naturally, in trying to reach that ideal customer, the point is to reach a legion of individuals. But it all starts with identifying that individual customer: income range, what publications the person reads, what marketing gurus they follow, their hobbies, and other interests.
Once he has defined this person, the marketer appeals to them with social media ads regarding a product or service.
Instead of trying to convince the masses of the legitimacy of what he is selling, he aims to persuade those who are already predisposed to his offer that it can help them reach a desired outcome.
Reaching an audience
That’s a greatly-simplified explanation, but knowing the inherent challenges of sales and marketing—particularly in a world awash with advertising—I found myself impressed with this entrepreneur’s approach.
Indeed, I think Christian leaders, businesspersons and would-be authors could learn a great deal from it. Especially when it comes to reaching an audience.
Too often, I encounter would-be writers whose goal can be stated as: I want to write. They aren’t sure what they want to write about; they just think it would be fun to write. Such statements tell me those individuals have done very little writing, or they would understand that the challenges, frustrations and nail-biting that accompany creative endeavors are more work than amusement.
Once they start, too many writers aren’t sure of their target. Recently, I reviewed the manuscript of a person who wanted to address the problems taught by “the church.”
That is a rather broad brush. It wasn’t clear whether he was referring to the Catholic church in which he grew up, or the Protestants he mentioned who search for ways to rationalize their actions that contradict Scripture.
Lack of focus
In addition to mixing his metaphors for the problems in the church, I saw a lack of focus when it came to the audience this person hoped to reach with his treatise.
Some chapters read like an academic chronology of misinterpretations or misapplications of Scripture throughout church history. Others seemed to aim more at a general audience with their summary. Generally, the author also failed to “connect the dots” and explain why certain issues were a problem when it comes to modern-day faith.
In responding to his request for an editing estimate, I told him that he had more work to do before he would have a book.
I told him one of his major problems was the sample chapters I read left me uncertain of who he hoped to reach.
Although I’m not a seminary graduate, my wife is; I had considerable exposure to academia during our time on campus. From what I read, I told him, I wasn’t sure if he was trying to reach an academic or a general audience. Answering that question would help guide his writing as he expanded the manuscript.
The same is true for any business or church leader hoping to write a book. Aim your writing at a defined target and you’re more likely to hit it.
Photo source: istock
An experienced freelancer, Ken Walker devotes much of his time to ghosting, co-authoring and editing books and blogs. He edits material for several contributors to Biblical Leadership. A member of the Christian PEN (Proofreaders and Editors Network), he has co-authored, edited or contributed to more than 60 books. You can see samples of his work or ask about his services by going to http://www.KenWalkerWriter.com or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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