Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Dear Writer, Love Your Audience


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

She pressed the thin book to her forehead. She didn’t care that she had found it at Goodwill and a third of its pages had a coffee stain. The title had grabbed her attention—Unfailing Love. 

I need a line, she thought. Even just one line of help. Something to keep me going.

She peered into the book, and her eyes were drawn to the last sentence on the right-hand page. “I’ve been there, too,” it said. She paused and whispered the line, “I’ve been there, too.” 

Next to this sentence was the smallest, handwritten arrow, easily missed. Written in blue ink. It pointed to the next page. 

She turned the page, and the back of it happened to be blank for the end of a chapter. She saw a note scribbled in blue. 

“This is why you bought the book,” the note said. “Because you needed to know you are loved and that someone has walked the same road you have. You’re not alone. You never were.” 

As writers, we “scribble” notes in books, but they happen to be printed black words on white paper. We encourage our readers that they don’t have to walk life’s road alone. God is with them. He cares. And so do we. 

Scripture is the book that anyone can open and find hope for life today. When we write and share from God’s Word, we invite readers to find the love, hope, and strength they need in God. We show that we’ve been there, too—we’ve struggled and needed victory. We show how God has been there for us and how He can be there for them. 

So dear writer, as you write the next chapter, article, or blog post, don’t forget to love your audience. It’s not just about sharing information. It’s about sharing from the heart. Relaying truth and love. Showing that we care and so does our Creator. 

4 Ways to L-O-V-E Your Audience

L – Listen to their concerns.
Do you teach a Bible study for your target audience? What concerns do they bring up? What worries them, stresses them, or hounds them? Do you hear from your audience on social media? What kinds of things do they ask prayer for? What is the focus of their attention and time?

Love your audience by listening to what they care about and tailoring your blog posts and social media posts to meet those needs. We never share private prayer requests or conversations, but we can keep tucked away in our hearts the issues and concerns they face. Show that you care by supplying content that meets them where they live. 

O – Observe the trends.
What blog posts do your readers comment on the most? Do you see a theme of what resonates with them? Which of your social media posts have the most comments? The most shares? See if you can observe trends in what draws readers to your website and social media pages, and develop similar content. Love your audience by consistently keeping your content relevant to their needs and encouraging to their hearts.

V – Value their strengths. 
Once in a while, I find an author who celebrates the strengths of his or her audience. It’s refreshing. As writers, we have a tendency to focus on human weakness because we are writing about struggles, felt need, and life transformation. But we can’t assume every reader possesses a certain problem. We are likely to inspire readers to practice what we’re writing, if we encourage them instead of discouraging them. 

What good habits might your readers already be practicing? How can you celebrate these? Love your readers by remembering what they may be doing right. 

E – Engage their hearts. 
Draw your readers close by sharing stories of how God has been there for you. Show from Scripture undeniable truths and bedrock promises. Give takeaway on every page. Talk to readers as you would to a friend. Ask questions so they can reflect on Scripture and apply it to their walk with God. Show your readers that they are loved by God and by you. Inspire them to trust God with every fiber of their being and to look for His work in their lives. 

Engage their hearts with powerful main ideas and a presentation of them that is both “wow” and memorable. Give them application of Scripture, and leave them with a deeper hunger for God, His help, and His ways. 

Love your audience by offering encouragement, practical how-to’s, motivations to follow God, and relevant insights. Let your writing be a place of strength, renewal, and hope. 

Which of the four ways above do you most often use to minister to your audience? Which do you appreciate the most about other writers? Share your answers in the comments below, and join the conversation!

TWEETABLE

Katy Kauffman finds herself writing about life’s spiritual battles more than anything else. As an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, she has the privilege of working with writers and the Lighthouse team to create Bible study compilations and magazine issues. She recently started a monthly newsletter for writers called The Lighthouse Connection, and she contributes to three blogs on writing. Connect with Katy at her blog, Winning the Victory, and on Facebook and Twitter.

13 comments:

  1. This is excellent, Katy! I think I lean more to "E" although I'd like to become more aware of the reader's strengths moving forward. A balance of all the above would be ideal! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you so much! I am glad you liked the post. I enjoy engaging with readers as well. May God bless your writing!

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  2. Good morning Katy. My takeaway is V -"value their strengths." Great reminder to balance encouragement with teaching, to acknowledge this writing will be review for many and how I have been inspired by others. Thanks for joining Jesus in the start of my day.

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    1. Ah, thank you, Dawn! I do think it's good for us to acknowledge our readers' strengths. I appreciate your comment. Happy writing!

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  3. Katy - I learned from all four letters, L-O-V-E. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Thanks Katy. I feel I have so much to learn in this area. It's really hard for me to pick one letter, but I will go with the V. I think I could use a whole class on that one! Great article!

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    1. Thank you, Sylvia! Your comment made me smile. I want to incorporate the "V" into my writing more and more as well. God bless your writing. (P.S. I think we talked about reader affirmation at the Enrich Conference, but it wouldn't hurt to discuss it again sometime. I can picture you already doing that though.) :)

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  5. Katy, thank you for helping us love readers as we write. l think I use the E tips more, but I’d like to focus more on the V.

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    1. The "V" wins today! Thank you for your comment, Jeannie. :) Love is a beautiful driving force for life and for writing. Happy writing this week!

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  6. A great acrostic to help us remember how to "Love our Audience!" I appreciated this reminder to be more focused on what my audience needs. Thank you, Katy

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  7. Thank you Katy. You presented a valuable checklist to measure our writing and focus in a way that is easy for writers to remember.

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  8. Thank you Katy. You presented a valuable checklist to measure our writing and focus in a way that is easy for writers to remember.

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