How to Write Things People Want to Read
If you're writing for yourself, you can write about anything. If you're writing to spread your ideas, reach an audience, or make money - you need to adopt the motto of the most successful startup accelerator:
Make Something People Want
But how do you write things people want to read?
Write for the right person
Different people want different things, so you need to figure out exactly who you're writing for - your target audience:
- Who are the people your writing can help the most?
- Who are the people you want to reach with your writing?
Clearly define your "perfect reader" - create a vivid avatar that represents the ideal person you wish was reading your writing. Be as specific as possible - go as far as defining their name, gender, age, profession, picturing a typical day in their life. It really helps if you can choose a specific person you know in real life (a friend, a co-worker, a client), and write directly for them.
Understand what they want
Your job is to understand your perfect reader as deeply as you can:
- What are their desires and goals? What is their biggest dream in life?
- What are their day-to-day struggles? What is their biggest problem?
How do you know what they want? Talk to them.
- Find where your perfect readers hang out online, see what questions they ask, what problems they complain about, contact them personally and ask.
- If you can meet them in real life or arrange a zoom interview - even better.
- If you already have an audience - ask your existing readers these questions (in your newsletter or on social media).
Help them get what they want
You create valuable writing by helping your perfect reader to go from where they are to where they want to be. So you want to write posts that accomplish one of two things:
- Help your perfect reader to achieve their goals.
- Help your perfect reader to solve their problems.
Think of yourself as a business whose purpose it is to create a product that solves a specific problem for a specific kind of person.
This makes creating posts people want to read extremely straightforward:
- Make a list of the 10 most critical steps they need to take to achieve their goal or to solve their problem.
- Make a list of the 10 biggest obstacles that prevent them from accomplishing that.
When you write a post, address one or more items on these lists. Help your perfect readers to take steps towards achieving their biggest goal or solving their biggest problem, and they will want to read your writing.