Power Blogging: Writing from your Reader’s Perspective?

Reader's perspective by Janeb13 CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

Have you heard this before? “Writ­ers need to learn to write from a reader’s per­spec­tive”. I have heard it many times, it is true that writ­ers tend to think about a sub­ject then put togeth­er the words to answer that chal­lenge. Yet, the real ques­tion is whether the writer is meet­ing the reader’s expec­ta­tions.

Writ­ing is often a nerve-wrack­ing, yet enthralling activ­i­ty. It is very demand­ing, and does not get eas­i­er with expe­ri­ence. Addi­tion­al­ly, a writer’s stan­dards should always be ris­ing. It is an extreme­ly per­son­al expe­ri­ence and one that con­nects them to untold oth­ers, those wish to read and learn. Should it be grit­ty and to the point? Fluffy and wool­ly? Read­ers are fre­quent­ly bur­dened by ver­bose abstracts and fuzzy, lengthy, or miss­ing con­clu­sions. One rea­son writ­ers must pay atten­tion the reader’s perspective.

First Words, Not Enough

It takes some­thing more than the first words we use to describe it. Often an idea has to reshaped, spat out and regur­gi­tat­ed a few times, before it approach­es great­ness. To achieve great­ness, it has to gen­tly assist the read­er in under­stand­ing the idea, per­haps it needs to move them pro­found­ly. They need to think of it as if it were their very own idea. You, the writer sim­ply have the courage to give voice to it.
The act of writ­ing is nec­es­sar­i­ly, a gen­er­a­tive one. At some point in the writ­ing process, you must turn off the inner crit­ic. This allows you to unleash more cre­ative genius. You need that crit­ic once the cre­ative writ­ing is complete.
The hope, to allow your words to flow unen­cum­bered onto the page. Add to this writ­ing in free form, just putting your thoughts onto the page. You may end up with a mud­dled, awk­ward and unfo­cused mess, but the words are out and you can now edit them and turn them into some­thing the read­er needs. This is the point when the inner crit­ic is set free.

Ideas in Motion

Creative ideas in motion by Peter Giblett
Writ­ers have an idea. Then, after research and explo­ration, they set about describ­ing the con­cept through a set of words. One of the ques­tions that inner crit­ic may pose is “why am I writ­ing this?” This is a good ques­tion to ask. It doesn’t apply every time, but it does have its place. If you can’t come up with one or two good rea­sons why, maybe you should re-think the whole thing. Can it, then go to a dif­fer­ent topic?
It is too easy to asso­ciate the words used as being all the idea rep­re­sent­ed, with­out ask­ing if some­thing is miss­ing. With­out check­ing to see if all views are rep­re­sent­ed. The idea has tak­en motion, but some writ­ers believe it complete.
Vasude­va Krish­na­murthy Naageswaran, says writ­ers should “always have the reader’s per­spec­tive in mind, so that you could per­fect your edit­ing based on the queries that would arise in your mind dur­ing such a process”. The idea is that by ques­tion­ing our work in this way we will plug the gaps that would oth­er­wise be left.
Is it nec­es­sary to look a lit­tle deep­er? Should we? How do you under­stand the reader’s perspective?
 It is all too easy to for­get to add some­thing sim­ple into that equa­tion, fail to answer the words of a detrac­tor, etc. To com­plete it writ­ers must go deep­er. Often nuggets of ideas have some­thing about them that makes them great. The duty of the writer is to full exam­ine them to make them tru­ly great. By sub­ject­ing our work to rig­or­ous exam­i­na­tion it becomes more bul­let­proof. It helps the naïve idea become something.

Home Run

Pitcher baseball by KeithJJ cc) Public Domain from PixabayNot every blog post has to be a home run or change someone’s life. It feels good to do that occa­sion­al­ly, but most of the time the change you wish to trig­ger is small. Like, look­ing at the ball when pitched to under­stand if you should swing or not. A split sec­ond deci­sion to be made. It is about read­ing the sit­u­a­tion. A small step, but a step in the right direc­tion for one of your read­ers. The bat­ter needs to know the right balls to swing the bat at.
Each arti­cle you craft should offer a unique per­spec­tive on some­thing the read­er needs. Good writ­ing is all about cre­at­ing clar­i­ty and sim­plic­i­ty. How can you give the read­er that? With each piece you work on, you are adding to the knowl­edge avail­able for that sub­ject area. It is that which mat­ters. Tak­ing a read­er to a point of under­stand­ing is vital. You don’t have to score a home run to achieve that, one step is good enough.
Gain­ing feed­back from any reader’s per­spec­tive can be essen­tial for your growth as a writer. By read­ing their thoughts you can under­stand what dri­ves them or makes them think. Assim­i­lat­ing that knowl­edge can help you grow fur­ther and help you in craft­ing your next post.

Specialisation and Reader’s Perspective

If your blog cov­ers a some­what obscure, poten­tial­ly bor­ing, top­ic, how you approach every­thing mat­ters. Your read­er is also a poten­tial ally here. Your work must touch the read­er more deeply because in this sit­u­a­tion read­ers are hard­er to come by and each one is precious.
Writer must strike the bal­ance between shar­ing too much and shar­ing too lit­tle. Ide­al­ly they share just what the read­er needs, but each read­er is dif­fer­ent, so how do you plan for that? Sad­ly you can­not ask them all. The read­er on the oth­er side of the world is asleep when you are awake and visa ver­sa. If there is a read­er you know it is pos­si­ble to ask for their reac­tion before you pub­lish it. This helps you tweak your con­tri­bu­tions in the future, as do com­ments and social reactions.

Why does your Content Matter?

Read­ers know why your con­tent mat­ters to them but most won’t tell you. Are they a part of your tar­get audi­ence? If they are then they will often share many of the same views you do. Pos­si­bly, they read many of the same web­sites you do.
Problem-solution by Geralt CC0 Public domain from Pixabay
If you believe some­one else is wrong then say­ing so can also earn you a friend. It is pos­si­ble they have had sim­i­lar thoughts. Also it is pos­si­ble they had not con­sid­ered the prob­lem to the same depth as you and as you cov­er the top­ic see you as a thought leader on the subject.
In gen­er­al, read­ers respond bet­ter to infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed from their point of view and not from the writer’s point of view. Do they expect in-depth analy­sis? There are times when it is nec­es­sary and oth­er times when it is not. Know­ing their needs can be chal­leng­ing and at times you will miss the point. Do not take this to heart, just start again with the next piece.

Knowing what is Needed

Fore­cast­ing what is impor­tant for your spe­cial­i­sa­tion would mean that you can be ready for your next arti­cle, and guar­an­tee its suc­cess. Sad­ly the future is not always pre­dictable. Twists and turns take every­one, includ­ing writ­ers, by sur­prise. The top­ic being pre­pared for next week, when the day arrives is no longer in vogue, or the way peo­ple think. Trou­ble is, read­ers are often fick­le, chang­ing their views in a moment. Remem­ber they also change back in a moment as well.
Think of your blog as your own per­son­al pub­li­ca­tion, like your news­pa­per or mag­a­zine. It should be some­thing you are proud of, some­thing to tell peo­ple about. Do you have it on your busi­ness card? I do.
Write what you know. Be orig­i­nal, use your own words. Express your per­son­al thoughts about the impor­tant mat­ters of the day in your spe­cial­i­sa­tion. Writ­ing about a book you have read, arti­cle in the news, or anoth­er person’s blog post? Make it clear what the oth­er writer says and what you think about it. The two can dif­fer. Read­ers will appre­ci­ate oth­er per­spec­tives espe­cial­ly if there is a rea­soned alternative.

Typos and Errors

Error by Geralt CC0 Public Domain from PixabaySome­one said that when read­ers find mis­takes in a writ­ten text, they are always right. It irks me when some­one points out an error I have made, and caus­es me to alter it, quick­ly, if pos­si­ble. The pos­si­bil­i­ty of error dri­ves me to do a lot of edit­ing. The aim min­imis­ing the num­ber pub­lished.
Often writ­ers, just can’t resist pour­ing out their cre­ative ideas and began to write with every­thing they encounter. It is the nature of a writer. For devel­op­ing those writ­ing skills, every writer must also adopt the habit of read­ing reg­u­lar­ly. This ensures you under­stand words and the ways to use them, the pos­si­bil­i­ties they bring. Mean­ing and struc­ture are also some­thing learned from read­ing. Whether read­ing fact or fic­tion it is pos­si­ble to see how oth­ers use words, phras­es, ask ques­tions, build sto­ries etc. This is impor­tant for the devel­op­ment of your writ­ing skills.

Editing

How you edit and re-write your words must also con­sid­er the needs of the read­er. Edit­ing is a very flu­id process and, in part, demands think­ing from the read­ers view. When a top­ic is intro­duced, is there a back­ground? Is one required? Does this top­ic lead on from the last? Does it flow nat­u­ral­ly? What is super­flu­ous? What is miss­ing? These are ques­tions every edi­tor must ask. Above all a blog­ger must become a good editor.
Edit­ing uses dif­fer­ent skills to writ­ing. Through edit­ing blog­gers must devel­op an eye for edit­ing how the end prod­uct impacts the reader.
Keep those cut-outs to hand in a sep­a­rate doc­u­ment. You may find that the piece you removed from the fourth para­graph fits well in a lat­er sec­tion. Some edi­tors swear by the “track changes” fea­ture of their word proces­sor, per­son­al­ly I find it an obsta­cle to effec­tive edit­ing but that is a mat­ter of per­son­al choice. I use Ever­note instead of a word proces­sor today for all ini­tial drafts and 95% of my edit­ing. Word­Press is where I com­plet­ed final edit­ing for this content.

Resting on a Razor Edge

Razor's edge by Philipp Kammerer CC0 Public domain from UnplashTruth is, the most inter­est­ing con­tent rests on a razor edge. That amaz­ing Inter­net, with abun­dant searchers from all over the globe is also full of oth­er things to see and read. That which brings read­ers, also acts as a shiny dis­trac­tion for even the most loy­al of them. It is for­ev­er try­ing to lure those read­ers away with every chance it gets. With­in sec­onds they can be gone, nev­er to return. It is a dou­ble-edged sword.
Ulti­mate­ly your best con­tent comes from the heart. It comes from your expe­ri­ence and should be unique. It is that which attracts to you to the best read­ers. You can­not con­cern your­self with the fact that read­ers come and go. You must con­cen­trate on pro­vid­ing excel­lent mate­r­i­al tak­en from their perspective.

Expectations

Ulti­mate­ly that per­spec­tive is about match­ing (and per­haps exceed­ing) the reader’s expec­ta­tions. It assumes you have researched both the top­ic and people’s desires. Words like “you” and “your” with­in head­lines and sec­tion head­ings show the read­er it is for them. It allows you to start by estab­lish­ing a con­nec­tion. You have to take the time to get to know your audi­ence and know the lev­el at which to pitch your con­tent. Avoid pitch­ing to mul­ti­ple lev­els in the same piece. Cre­ate one arti­cle for one lev­el of knowl­edge and anoth­er for the next lev­el. Try not to mix the content.
One impor­tant aspect about under­stand­ing the reader’s per­spec­tive is read­ing the pub­li­ca­tions they do. Be ful­ly inte­grat­ed with the terms of your indus­try, but do not talk in jar­gon. This is vital for busi­ness writing.
Point of view and per­spec­tive cre­ate a unique writ­ing and read­ing expe­ri­ence. Respect your read­er, nev­er put them down. Assume they are as smart and intel­li­gent as you are, even if they don’t know every­thing you do.

Other Article that may Interest You

The author, Peter B. Giblett, has pub­lished many oth­er posts about words and writ­ing that may inter­est you, these include:

 

 

Make a dona­tion to the upkeep of Gob­blede­Goox as a way to thank Peter Giblett for talk­ing about writ­ing from the reader’s per­spec­tive. This has been an inter­est­ing jour­ney, think how you can do this more. Some­thing to con­tribute? Please leave a com­ment. The images here were either cre­at­ed or owned by Peter Giblett or have been sourced from a pub­lic domain loca­tion, such as Pix­abay or Unsplash.
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