A dinner party for strangers…

You’ve been asked to help your friend host a dinner party. You’re a decent cook and you know your way around a wine-food pairing scale, so you should have no problems.

The catch is…you don’t know any of the guests – they’re all your friend’s friends. Of course that’ll create a few general social hurdles for you to scale when the night comes, such as initiating conversation with strangers (!!) – but, the main obstacle is having to cook and prepare a night of entertainment for some people you know nothing about.

So what do you do? I mean, yeah you can create an all-rounder menu that you hope everyone will like – but then, particularly in this day & age, diets are so widespread that you could majorly miss the mark. And hell hath no embarrassment as embarrassingly embarrassing as mild social embarrassment, right?

Imagine the social ramifications – a collection of eyeballs bulging out as you dare to serve brie to a vegan! Or, on a somewhat darker note, the chance that the cake you prepared might trigger off a nut allergy – meaning a change of location from your living room to A & E.

And, believe me, the options in A & E vending machines aren’t gourmet. Even if you put a cocktail stick through them.

How would you resolve this predicament? It’s simple really. You’d investigate. You’d ask your friend and perhaps use social media to check their friends’ Instagrams – as, let’s face it, if a meal is munched without being uploaded to Instagram, was it even consumed at all?

But the point I’m driving at is that you’d research. You’d get an idea of who you were cooking for, and you’d make up your night accordingly. Creating a menu to accommodate everyone – a peppering of personal flair here and there.

My question is – why wouldn’t you do that for your writing?

Whether it be a blog post, a sales letter, social content, a novel, etc – you need to have an idea of who you’re writing for and what they’d like.

Next time you sit down to write something, take a little time to do some research about the kind of person you’ll be writing for.

Those reading a ‘young adult’ novel aren’t going to want to read a breakaway chapter about Thatcher’s Britain, while senior citizens aren’t going to respond very well to a meme about how annoying it is when your mum disturbs your FIFA game by calling you to dinner.

Personalisation is the key to connecting with your audience, and if you’re not interested in finding out about them you’ll struggle to engage them.

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