All kinds of people

Crowded Jax Beach

Busy Jax Beach, Jan, 1, 2012

People are drawn to the beach by many things.

The waves attract surfers, body boarders, kayakers, and splashers of all ages. The water attracts swimmers and fishermen.

The sea spits out a daily dose of shells for the beachcombers.

The sand provides a soft landing spot for sunbathers and ample open space for the recreation of throwing footballs and frisbees, flying kites, playing bocce ball and tossing beanbags. The sand is also the building material of sand castles, simple and elaborate, the backdrop for sand writers and artists, and the hiding spot for treasures revealed by passing metal detectors.

The sun is there for everyone.

The beach is home to is a seemingly endless supply of wildlife to watch and interact with. Sea gulls and pigeons scavenge and kvetch. Ospreys and pelicans soar over head and then plunge into the water to come up with dinner. Crabs, sea stars, and other creatures that hug the coast move about in the shallows and on the sand. Jellyfish and occasionally something bigger become stranded on land as the tide recedes. Dolphins, sharks, and more can be spotted offshore with a sharp eye.

The beach is also home to people who have no home.

The beach serves as an outdoor gym for walkers, runners, and bicyclists. And it’s a wonderful people watching locale, topping both the mall and the airport as a gathering place for all kinds of people.

All kinds of people visit the beach to enjoy what it has to offer them. The same is true for your writing.

When writers follow the commandment to know your audience, we tend to focus on our target audience. That is as it should be. But it’s also important to remember that all kinds of people may come into contact with our writing, and to think about what our blog post, article, procedure, manual, course, or book has to offer them.

We shouldn’t try to be all things to all people, but it’s good to be aware that there are multiple perspectives, desires, and goals held by our readers. Our target audience is our primary reader, sure, but not the only one.

Keeping that in mind allows us to get to know our audience a little better.