In writing, an audience is the group of individuals for whom your piece is intended or the group that receives it. An audience could be very broad (for example, American citizens) or very narrow (for example, dog lovers from upstate New York). Just as advertisers “target” specific audiences with their commercials, writers need to consider what they are writing and to whom they are targeting their message in order to be effective.
For example, a commercial for denture cream that airs on a cable television channel during reruns of The Golden Girls is targeted for a very specific audience. If the same commercial, with the same script, actors, and product, airs during Hannah Montana, the connection with the intended audience is lost. By knowing your intended audience, you will know the best ways to connect them with your writing.
Here are some important things to consider when writing with audience connection in mind:
- How will your audience know that you are writing to them?
- Are you using vocabulary that they will recognize and understand?
- Have you created situations or scenarios in your writing that will be familiar to your audience?
- Have you written in a way that will invite your audience into your writing?
- Have you caught their attention with a hook or attention-getter at the beginning of your writing?
- Where are you directing the attention of your audience? What do you want them to notice? Can they find the connection from one idea to the next?
- Do you need to adjust your message in any way to ensure that you’ve connected with your audience?
These resources will help you connect with your audience:
• Persuading an Audience: Writing Effective Letters to the Editor (ReadWriteThink)
• Exploring Audience and Purpose with a Single Issue (ReadWriteThink)
• Adapting to Your Audience (Colorado State University)
• The Importance of Audience (University of North Carolina Writing