This is a guest post by our author Anne Peterson. In this post, she covers how to grow your audience with simple yet often overlooked writing strategies.
It all starts with writing what you know…
If I’ve heard it said one time, I’ve heard a hundred, “Write what you know.” And maybe I’ve just kind of pushed that to the back of my mind.
If you suggest narrowing someone’s topic to a writer or blogger, you might hear:
“But, I like to write about many different things.”
“But, I have so many experiences.”
“But, I don’t want to exclude anyone.”
And I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve voiced some of those same objections. The truth is, we do have a lot of experiences. But we still need to narrow our focus.
If we attempt to write to everyone, we’re not writing to anyone.
1. Work on your tagline
Another area you’ll hear again and again is your tagline. What is it you’d tell someone about yourself in just 20 seconds? Go!
Recently I’ve changed my tagline a few times. And I just want to say each time I changed it, I believed it was the right one. Now when I look back on it, I see that each step was necessary.
And finally, I reached one I felt encapsulated who I am, and what I believe.
My tagline is: Life is hard, so I write words to make it softer.
With those specially chosen eleven words you know what I think about life, and what I see my role as a writer is.
I have seen taglines that are too long. Some that I don’t understand. And some that don’t fit.
Take your time and list what you believe. Your worldview. And then, what are you doing about it?
2. Face your doubts
Do you know the negative voices you hear? The ones that plant doubt in you just as you are about to pour your heart into your next article.
Why are you writing that? it’s been written about for years!
You struggle in that area, and now you’re gonna write about it?
So let me deal with these statements.
Statement #1: That’s been written about for years
Each person is unique. We look different, we have different experiences, and we all respond differently.
So that means even if we take a subject, written about for ages, our take on that subject is bound to be different because we’re different.
And while some subjects have been written about for years, it will still be different with you writing it, coming from your background and everything that you’ve gone through.
So if you have a passion for an area that’s been well visited, write about it anyway. The world needs to hear what you have to say about it.
Statement #2: You’re gonna write about an area you still struggle in?
As long as we are breathing in and out we are able to learn.
That’s the exciting thing about life, we keep growing all the time.
As a returning student. I’d try so hard in my Psychology class.
But when I’d miss even one question on a quiz, it would frustrate me.
When it came time to take the actual test, the ones I really remembered were the ones I missed on the quiz. And that happened over and over again.
We can learn from our mistakes.
And we can learn from the mistakes others make as well.
So when I shared how I learned to paginate and I told step by step, the mistakes I’ve made, I am doing a couple of things. I’m admitting I’m human, which is good considering the fact that I AM human.
I’m also letting my readers know that everyone makes mistakes.
All of a sudden we are on level ground. I’m not an expert who is unapproachable.
And lastly, I’m also giving my readers the right to make mistakes.
I’m letting them see, mistakes are inevitable.
Everyone likes to be validated.
3. Write about your passion
We all have areas that make our hearts beat a little faster.
Things that really get us pumped up.
I once heard a speaker say, “In case, you’re having trouble identifying your passion, just ask yourself this question, what really gets you angry? For the very thing that ticks you off is somehow related to what you’re passionate about.”
That seemed to help me. I know now that this passion is one ticket to grow your audience.
Now here’s where you may come up with more than one thing.
So I’ve anticipated that as well. So here is the second question.
If someone told you, “I’m sorry, you can no longer do ___________ anymore. What thing would really upset you if it were in that blank?
For the thing you can’t live without, that’s where your passion will lie.
4. Let others know your worldview and grow your audience
My worldview is: life is hard. I look around and see hurting people everywhere. But my experiences in life seem to gravitate to a certain group of people. And while it was not by my own choices, I find myself comfortable talking to those who have sustained losses.
We’re supposed to be writing about what we know, and I know grief.
Recently, I wrote another grief article for a publication. This time I wrote about how difficult it is when we have anniversary dates of lost loved ones. I want those who are grieving to know they are not alone.If we take a subject, written about for ages, our take on that subject is bound to be different because we’re different. Click To Tweet
I want those who know someone in grief to be aware of helpful things to say and to know sometimes silence IS golden.
As I continued to think about this whole area of grief, I remembered it’s important to let your lead magnet tie into what you focus on as a writer. I also knew a good lead magnet will identify a problem and then offer solutions, which should help grow your audience.
5. Does your lead magnet solve a problem?
I kept thinking about people in grief and some of the things well-meaning people have said to them. It angers me that people grieving, have their pain compounded because of those who don’t know how to communicate with them.
So it occurred to me, if I see this as a problem, maybe I could come up with a solution.
And that’s what I did. I created a lead magnet for those who know someone in grief.
My Ebook is entitled, Helping Someone in Grief: 17 Things You Need to Know.
And in this book, I list suggestions of things to say and do.
Perhaps you know of a problem you could offer a solution to.
6. Be Willing to change things
We are to write what we know. When I narrowed my focus, zeroed in on grief, changed my tagline, and offered a solution in my lead magnet, things started clicking.
In the bio of one of my recent articles, I stated my tagline as well as the new offer to my subscribers. What I didn’t expect were the results.
People kept signing up for my newsletter. They kept coming and coming. Others responded to me, telling me how much they appreciated the Ebook.
My numbers shot up. Those same numbers which basically had been stuck for more than a couple of years.
Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.”
I guess I thought my numbers would magically go up. But just thinking things magically happen isn’t how to grow your audience. It sure sounds like insanity to me. And yet, making some changes helped dramatically.
7. Put your stuff out there more; it will inevitably grow your audience
Another important area is guest posting. Find sites where you think your articles will fit in. And then ask if you can guest post.
You can also find articles in your niche and leave comments. This could open up a door to you sharing.
I decided to write more articles for a publication I’m currently writing for. But I wrote specifically in the area of my passion.
So when someone liked the article, they saw my worldview which went along with my article, and they saw my offer to subscribe and receive the Ebook. It all fit together well. And since it is my passion, I won’t grow tired of writing about it.
If writing is taking the energy out of you, maybe it’s because you’re writing about the wrong thing.
Also, a sideline, when you know who your audience is, you can write in a personal way. Picture them as you tap away at the keys. The more vivid your picture is, the more personal you can make your article.
What about you?
Do you have a tagline that aptly describes who you are?
Are you happy with your lead magnet?
Does it offer a solution to a problem and help grow your audience as a result?
Are you experimenting with Guest posting?
Sometimes little changes can yield big results.
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, and published author of 14 books, including a memoir, Broken, children’s books, and poetry books. Of all her titles, she prefers Grandma. Download a free copy of her book Helping Someone in Grief: 17 Things You Need to Know by joining her email list.