The first thing I always try to do with a piece of writing is figure out: who is my audience and what is the purpose of this piece? One of the things that made writing the debut pieces for The Writing Catalog and Sourcerer such a challenge is that I was writing to an audience of Facebook friends, but I was also writing for potential WordPress readers.
I briefly outlined the purpose of our over-the-top kickoff party in my post at Part Time Monster yesterday. The bottom line is that we needed to create buzz, even at the cost of over-selling these blogs a little. That explanation will suffice for now.
Since appeals for attention are always most effective when they are tailored to specific interests, I had to think very carefully about what my Facebook friends like. I also had to think about what sort of WordPress bloggers might take an interest in a group of total newcomers.
This is the audience I finally came up with for my two blogs:
- Writers. We know a lot of writers. Lots of writers blog, and lots of bloggers are keen to learn writing tricks. Since I love to talk about writing anyway, this one was a no-brainer.
- Friends who appreciate cool stuff like speculative fiction, fantasy art, and YouTube videos. What started this project to begin with was that we wanted to create a website where we could have 10 or 12 people talking about sci-fi, movies, comic books, and funny stuff every day of the week.
- People who are interested in using blogs in strange and amusing ways, and who like to watch new blogs grow.
- People who are interested in rhetoric, applied social sciences, or how information spreads over networks. One thing that links these topics together is that they all require some attention to the details of organization.
I wrote the debut posts with these four overlapping interest groups in mind. Of course, that is still a very diverse list of interests. My hope was that I could do a good job appealing to the first two groups on the list, and attract enough attention to interest the second two once I started explaining all this stuff.
I framed the two posts as a personal narrative because I hoped it would make them reader-friendly and entertaining. The fact that the story was actually true allowed me to tell it in a sincere tone of voice that I just can’t manage unless I am speaking with real passion. By the time we were ready to publish, I was feeling pretty good about them.
This will be a weekly series for next little while, but I hope to post at least two original pieces per week here once we really get going. To be continued next Wednesday.