Writers: For Whom Are You Writing?

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Writers can ply their trade for lots of audiences: academic, television, radio, Internet, young, old, domestic, or foreign.

The number of distinct audiences is staggering.

If you’re a business writer, just have a look at various sectors that are depicted in Standard Industrial Classification Codes (SIC’s). There have to be thousands of them, and each one constitutes at least one audience, and probably a lot more.

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As writers, we have implicit audiences, as well.

Years ago, I heard that daily newspapers are written so an eight grader could understand their contents. That’s an implied audience, right there: the average eighth grader.

The President of The United States has a chief speechwriter, who in a very real sense has an audience of one: the Commander In Chief. If he fails to please his boss, he’s beating the bushes with a laptop, but his implied audience is huge, and it includes the collective unconscious of Americans dating back to the Revolution.

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I saw a movie the other night about songwriter Cole Porter who made a successful transition writing for the New York stage to movies. In a memorable scene, he is told by a studio head to tone down his sophistication and instead to write for the average person.

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That abstraction of the average moviegoer is another implied audience.

Of course, very often a creative writer is really communing with himself. He is his own audience and chief critic.

While he may be paid to craft a feature article for publication, his own standards of excellence or cleverness inform his work to such an extent that a higher self, the writer he wants to be, is the one who is screening and evaluating his output.

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I think it’s especially valuable to consider the question: For whom am I writing?

The answers might surprise you, motivate you, or refocus you!

Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of Customersatisfaction.com, is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone? and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service, and the audio program, “The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable,” published by Nightingale-Conant. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide. A Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School, a Loyola lawyer, and an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University, Gary offers programs through UCLA Extension and numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. He holds the rank of Shodan, 1st Degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate. He is headquartered in Glendale, California, and he can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at: gary@customersatisfaction.com

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