Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Define Your Audience—Who Are You Writing To?

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

I thought of them as I wrote my first book—my best friend who has four children, another good friend who has survived trial after trial, and the women in a Sunday school I once belonged to. 

I wanted to remember their everyday struggles and concerns. I didn’t want to give pat answers or offer easy fixes. Remembering “real life” helped me as I wrote my first Bible study.

Who are you writing to? 

When you sit at your desk and start to write, do you string words together to speak to a vague audience—those people whom you don’t know but hope will buy your book? Or do you write to people you know? To the people you love? When we identify the strengths, struggles, and concerns of the people we’re writing to—even specific people—it makes our writing richer. More personal. More “real.”

Who are your writing to?
I once asked Andy Andrews at a Women of Faith Conference whom he wrote to. I submitted my question on an index card, along with myriads of other women (and a few brave men), and I was surprised when my question was read on stage. It went something like this: Are there specific people you think of when you write your books? There were. Andy said that he thought of close family and friends as he wrote. I even think he said that he visualized their faces.

We don’t write to an ethereal audience. We write to real people with real concerns. When you write a Bible study or devotional blog post, think of the faces of the people who mean the most to you. Think of what you would want to tell them to help them go through a difficult time or how you would encourage them to keep following God. Include the best material you can get from God in Bible study and prayer. Identify your target audience, and remember the needs and concerns they have as you write.

Also include yourself as part of the
audience in your books & blogs.
Also include yourself as the audience in your books and blog posts. Very often we become the audience for our own books, as God teaches us and gives us principles for everyday living. The author is both writer and reader, recipient and teacher. As God encourages us, we can encourage others.

I’m not suggesting that we ever divulge someone’s personal information. Or that we name them in our book. Far from it! But the struggles we’ve gone through and the concerns we know that others face, can shape how we talk about our subject, so that we stay connected to reality, real needs, and real victories. Always remember to whom you are writing, and give real answers for real concerns of the heart. Those are the kinds of books and blog posts I like to read again and again.

When you write, do you ever visualize yourself talking to a particular friend or loved one? Do you have a particular audience that you write to—friends, young moms, business people, or teens? Share your thoughts below, and join the conversation!

Define your audience - who are you writing to? @KatyKauffman28 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Focusing on your target audience makes your #writing stronger - @KatyKauffman28 (Click to Tweet)

Katy Kauffman is an award-winning writer and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, a ministry which seeks to connect people to God through His Word. She has taught the Bible to women and teens, and has two published Bible studies for women, 2 Timothy: Winning the Victory and Faith, Courage, and VictoryHer heart’s desire is for women to know and love God, understand the richness of His Word, and fulfill His plan for their lives. Katy is also the designer of Broken but Priceless: The Magazine. She makes her home near Atlanta, Georgia. Connect with her further on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Katy, Thank you for this. I was just getting ready to write my weekly blog. I am so glad I read this first. I pictured the faces of the ladies I write to and changed the tone of my writing. You have been a great friend and a great help to me. I know many will be blessed by this post. Write on my friend. You are changing the world one reader at a time.

  2. Cherrilynn,

    I agree with you about visualizing faces. I would also add to that, asking God in sincere prayer for a genuine love and deep affection for our audience. Paul often talked about his deep affection to the ones he was writing to in his epistles, so I started asking for this in my writing and messages for women's retreats. I was so humbled at how my writing transformed from me giving instructions on what to do, to "this is my life, my experience, my story, and I know you've been there too, tell me yours." That is what I am also aiming now for in my blog, even though I don't see their faces. It really all comes back to what we were created for, to bring God glory through relationship. If this isn't our aim, if we don't consider that we have an unseen knitting of souls in our online presence, I don't think we will get very far. I am preparing to invite guest bloggers, get people more involved with the open ended question at the end, and to create and cultivate relationship. Thank you for giving me more to pray about! The saying is true, "I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say!" F. O'Connor

  3. And ALWAYS make sure the most important person you are writing to in your audience is Jesus!

  4. Cherrilynn, thank you for your encouragement. And for sharing how this post affected you. Your writing consistently has application for everyday life that speaks to me, and I know it blesses other people. God bless your blog for this week!