A few days ago, I proudly showed my mom the progress I’ve made on creating my blog website. She looked though it and then asked: who is going to read it?
Ah, the big question. I’m not going to lie, it hurt a little when my mom asked it even though I’ve been asking myself the same question for months. Isn’t it funny how differently we process a question when it comes from someone else rather than from our own selves?
From a marketing perspective, this is an essential question to consider before beginning any venture. Who is going to read what you have to say? Who wants the service or product you are offering? In other words, who is your target market?
I bring up marketing in this personal blog because as individuals we mainly ignore the question of who is going to read or want what we have to offer to the world. The question is so deeply subconscious that we rarely even realize it’s there. But it is. It is quietly dictating what we wear, where we go, how we talk to people, and a zillion other decisions we make throughout our day. It’s an inherent part of living in society.
However, becoming consumed by this question will weigh us down and make our lives miserable. We will be so overwhelmed by trying to please everyone, to control the way we are perceived, to present just the right face to the world that two things could happen: we will lose sight of who we really are, or we will feel incredibly lonely and misunderstood.
Authenticity is the key to knowing who we are and to connecting with other people. Authenticity gives us the confidence to be who we really are. Knowing our audience helps us to know which parts of ourselves to share. Confidence empowers us to be secure in sharing some parts of ourselves and not others.
For instance, I like lame jokes. I mean I really love them. The more groan-worthy a joke is the more I like it. I look for opportunities to share these lame jokes with others because I like them, so I’m guessing other people out there do, too; I get to enjoy a joke multiple times if I tell it to others – once when I hear it and again when I tell it. I am authentic in my enjoyment of these jokes, however I know that there is a time and a place to share this part of who I am.
My husband does not enjoy these jokes. My kids love them. Both my husband and my kids know that I like them, but I only share this part of myself with my kids. I’m confident that my husband still likes me even though we have different opinions on silly jokes. Furthermore, I share these jokes with the women in my Bible study, but I do not share them with elected officials I have occasion to meet. I read the jokes in the quiet of my home so I can laugh out loud if I want to, but I don’t read them in the middle of a staff meeting. There is a time and a place for everything.
This brings me back to the big question my mom asked me when I showed her the website I’m creating and told her about the blog I’m planning to write: who is going to read it? The question I ask myself is, who is my target market?
My answer: other people like me, who want to be authentic but struggle with knowing which parts of themselves to share and when. My target audience is people whose character cannot be shoved into a tidy little box of explanation but who recognize, celebrate, and pursue the many complex aspects of their personalities and experiences. You. You are my target audience because there is a lot more to you than meets the eye. So much more! The time and the place for this blog is here and now.