Why Your Friends Are Not Your Target Audience

Photo by  Matheus Ferrero  on  Unsplash

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

You are a writer. You want more people to read your writing. You share your work with your social networks for that reason.

These people already like you. They should feel privileged to have the opportunity to read your work first. They will share it with every person they ever knew.

Sorry.

They are wrapped up in their own lives. They don’t even read your posts on your blog. They just like the post on Facebook of the link that they never read. Because they are your friend.

And because you are putting them on the spot.

“Build a lifestyle around your brand, and the audience will follow.” — Eva Chen

Why Your Friends Don’t Care About Your Writing

Most of them aren’t writers. Most of them aren’t readers. Most of them don’t have a Medium account or their own personal blog to air their personal history daily.

Their kids are distracting them. Their partner wants their attention. Their boss expects them to work when they are at work.

They just aren’t interested in what you write about.

So why do we keep trying?

We are hedging our bets on the approval matrix. They know us so they will like what we write. But what if they are just being nice?

“Do not look for approval except for the consciousness of doing your best.” — Andrew Carnegie

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Your target audience is the network where you write. Or the network you grow. Those are the people who care about your work. They will find you. They will follow you. They will respect you.

This is where you should be laying the building blocks. Not on Facebook or LinkedIn. The algorithms prevent it from reaching who you thought it would anyway.

“My target audience is anyone who finds the world interesting and human behavior fascinating, terrible, inspiring, funny, and occasionally, mysterious.” — Amy Bloom

Your target audience consists of people like you. Writers. Readers. Not your friend from middle school who thought Catcher in the Rye was stupid.

Admission: I Used To Share Too Much

I did it too. My first Medium post ever got shared around Facebook and had my most views for a long time. I thought that meant that Facebook was my friend. It wasn’t.

I kept sharing my posts on Facebook and the numbers kept dropping and dropping. Now the algorithm would show it to no one. Or my friends would be bored with my writing. But I deleted Facebook over a year ago.

So then I used to share everything on Twitter. I would share business-related posts on LinkedIn before I got rid of that vacuous network. Both were useless. Everything good that comes from my writing, comes from myself. And time.

I deleted Twitter too.

The Long Game

To be successful at anything you have to play the long game. People get lucky. People win the lottery. But success comes with skill, time and hard work.

Social networks encourage the short game. Please do not cross-post your work. It doesn’t work.

It’s our egos. They are fragile. That’s why we send it to our friends. Some fake likes feel good.

“Success is all about persistence and doing the right thing for the long term.” — Bruce Rauner

Resist the temptation. Grind it out here. People will find you. And those people will read your entire post. And clap. And comment. And highlight.

I Know My Target Audience Now

My friends are not who I want to read my writing. I like them, but they don’t have the time. They have jobs, kids, dogs, and social lives.

I want you to read it. Anyone who finds this post in the middle of the vastness that is the Internet.

I hope I am your target audience too. Because I read a lot.