Sculpting an audience with content

This is something I’ve noticed more and more the more I pay attention to creating content and building audiences.

  • One approach is to create content that the audience wants.
  • The other approach is to create content that will attract the audience you want.

I’m much more aligned with the second approach. While I definitely think there’s something to finding out what the audience wants and giving them that, there’s also a side where the content creates the audience.

Let’s use writing for example. If you write about home cooking, who’s your audience going to be? Probably people interested in cooking, interested in food, and so on. If you write about mountain climbing, you’re going to attract mountain climbers.


But it goes much further than that. It’s not just about the topic of the content. It’s also about its presentation. And that’s what I’m really interested in.

For example, forget the topic – what kind of audience do you create if you write insanely long blog posts? It’s a much different audience than if you wrote short, pithy posts. Let me give you a couple more examples:

  • Sarcastic vs. serious
  • Timeless vs. cutting edge
  • Personal vs. objective
  • Short paragraphs vs. long paragraphs
  • Lots. Of. Sentences. Like. This. vs. Crazy difficult to understand sentences because they’re so long and complicated.
  • Lots of questions vs. lots of answers
  • Researched vs. opinionated

The list could (and does) go on and on.

I’m particularly interested in understanding more about this because I want to build an audience of the right people, not just many people.

As a result, I weed out certain kinds of people with the way I write on purpose (and sometimes I’m sure on accident).

For example, on this blog, I write about whatever I want to write about – it’s my selfish blog. I want anyone who reads to read because they care about me, not so much because they’re interested in a specific topic I’m interested in.

I write short posts every day (this is a bit long actually). This way, it’s more of a relationship blog. If you’re a regular reader, you learn a little more about me each day, instead of if I wrote longer posts less often.

And the details keep coming. Each detail makes a difference in the kind of audience that it creates.

But that’s the key point. It’s about sculpting the content to attract the right audience rather than sculpting the content to fit the existing audience. It’s about creating content that draws in the audience I want.

I’m still working on it.