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How To Anticipate The Needs Of Your Readers In Your Articles
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Have you ever made someone a birthday cake, and when it came time to sing "Happy Birthday" you realized you had forgotten to buy candles? Then the furious hunt begins for last year's used candles, which may or may not be collecting dust in a junk drawer.
The last time I was picking up some baking supplies though, I noticed that right next to the cake mixes was an "in your face" display of birthday candles that no one could miss. I thought, "That's a bright idea. They have solved the problem of people forgetting the candles!"
The grocery store found a way to helpfully anticipate the needs of their customers. Did you know that you can do the same in the articles that you create? Here are some ways that you can plan ahead for what your readers will need:
1 - Cover beginner topics every way you can.
Did you know that it's very likely that most of your readership is at the beginner level? That means that they need really basic information about your niche, information so basic that you might not have felt it necessary to cover it in an article.
It's a common temptation for a writer to think that everyone already knows the basic stuff. You may feel like you'd be wasting your time writing about extremely simple things in your niche. The common reaction when someone asks a basic question is to quickly give an answer and then move on to something more advanced, but I encourage you to spend much of your writing time teaching beginner topics.
There are some essential, basic article topics that you will never finish writing about. Since everyone learns in different ways, you can't cover one of these basic topics just once and expect your job to be done. No, part of anticipating the needs of your target readers is creatively coming up with new ways of teaching "old" topics.
One interesting thing I've noticed with my own writing is that I can write exhaustively on a specific topic, covering everything I can think of that anyone would need to know, but there are still people who can read all my articles and still not understand. It's interesting to note that a person may read several different articles on the same topic before having the information sink in and make sense. For that reason, you need to keep on writing on your basic topics in new ways.
2 - Cover advanced topics backwards and forwards.
The more knowledge a person gains about your niche, the more interest he'll take in the more complicated concepts. It's your job to pinpoint the advanced topics that every person interested in your niche will eventually need to learn. These will be perennial topics in your articles--you can never finish explaining them.
I'm not talking about writing the same article over and over again--I'm talking about creating brand new articles that teach a particular topic in a brand new way. What advanced topics in your niche do you need to add to your recurring article idea list?
3 - What are your readers' emotional concerns about your niche?
You may think that emotions and feelings don't come into play in your niche because it's technical or you just don't think of it as being a topic that elicits emotions. But I think that pretty much every topic, no matter how technical, has an emotional element that contributes to a person's ability to learn.
Consider a dentist writing about his niche. What emotional concerns might his readers have? If the dentist is just thinking about how he can teach people to floss, brush and avoid tooth decay, he may think that there isn't an emotional element at all.
However, anyone who has faced the task of making a visit to the dentist knows that emotions are involved. Fear, dread, and anxiety can overwhelm some people to the point where they avoid the dentist at all costs.
Other niches have similar emotional elements. Consider that any time you set out to learn a new skill, there is some anxiety about coming out of your comfort zone. It can be stressful to become a beginner and set foot into a niche where it feels like everyone knows more than you do.
As a writer who anticipates the needs of your target market, you can be ready to confront these problems by proactively writing articles that address them. If you listen to your readers, customers and clients, you will hear some of their concerns. Whenever you do, consider whether others might share the same concern and if writing an article to address it would be beneficial.
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