Let's give a big welcome to Jennifer Brown Banks, of Pen and Prosper. I hope you enjoy her informative guest post.
“Write what you know” is one of the cardinal rules of writing.
In fact, it’s been passed down for generations; much like family heirlooms.
This school of thought contends that writing what we know increases our efficiency, our acceptance rate, and ultimately our bottom line as writers.
But, for greater success, I encourage you to put a new spin on this old advice.
In addition to penning pieces based upon your areas of expertise, examine these other applications.
You should be able to demonstrate that you are “in the know” in the following categories for optimal results and greater longevity as a blogger or author.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Many times it’s quite evident to me as an avid blog reader, that not all bloggers have a real awareness of who comprises their audience. How is this able to be detected? A lack of focus; inconsistent themes; no real solutions to the creative problems for which I visit their sites; and rants that I can’t relate to. Don’t let this be you. In order to offer readers value for their time, you need to be clear about who they are, their pain points, their interests and how you can best serve them. “Knowledge is power.”
KNOW YOUR COMPETITION
KNOW YOUR COMPETITION
Don’t be fooled. Just because folks are friendly in the blogging community, does not mean they should not be viewed as your “competition” as well. Honestly speaking, we’re all “competing” for the limited amount of time and attention that busy readers have today. Which doesn’t mean we can’t be supportive of one another, or build important bonds. Perish the thought. We can and we should. Still, you need to know what the other bloggers in your niche area have to offer, what their “draw” is, and how you can use that information to level the playing field and increase your odds of staying in the game.
KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS
What are you good at? Do you know? Can you deliver on it? Self-awareness is crucial to your success as a blogger and writer. Want to know why? It helps you to be more strategic, focused, and properly positioned. For instance, my strengths as a blogger are my passion for writing, my diverse background, my authenticity, and my desire to help others to “know more and grow more.”
Everybody is different. To identify your strengths, take personal inventory. Look at the things you enjoy; the things that come easily to you; or perhaps positions you’ve held in your professional career.
KNOW YOUR GOALS
Why do you blog? What’s your end game? Are you seeking to raise awareness of an important cause? Showcase your stories? Beat boredom? Entertain? Educate? Find an agent? Build a customer base to sell products?
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Your goals, however, serve like a G.P.S. system to help navigate your direction, cause fewer detours, and save wasted time for you and your readers.
If you want to appear wise in your readers’ eyes, don’t just “write what you know;” follow these tips and write from a more informed perspective that indicates you know who they are and care about what they seek.
JENNIFER BROWN BANKS is a veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger and instructor at Coffeehouseforwriters.com.Her Blog Penandprosper.blogspot.com was selected a “Top 100 Writing Blog” in 2016.
Thanks for sharing with us, Jennifer!
Writers and Readers: What are your writing goals?