Garden Writers: Who Are We Writing For and Why is it Important?
When I write about why I let some of my basil flower,
who is listening?
When we write online, who is reading and what are we trying to accomplish? Haven't you wondered, as your words fly off into the void of cyberspace, where your message will land? Will the readers even speak English; what type of gardening do they practice; or are they just looking for pretty pictures? Articles for magazines and newspapers are easier to target, because we know the demographics of the readers. When we write for an Internet audience, we may have access to traffic totals or find out what search terms were used to reach our pages, but we really have no idea who's reading, except for those who are motivated to respond. Knowing the search words and what people are looking for helps us target our future writing, but responses from readers are the most important and interesting feedback. They often pose questions that spur further writing.
Over the past few years, some garden writers have discussed and lamented the disappearing garden writing for newspapers and garden programming on TV. The New York Times has a section called home and garden, but the number of garden stories continues to shrink to maybe one or two a month. HGTV now has no real garden shows--quick landscaping yes, but not real gardening. Even when garden stories run, they may be syndicated with little relevance for their local audience. For example, the Miami Herald ran a story on a Michigan woman's butterfly habitat. Very little of her experience will translate well to the tropics of south Florida.Why can't they solicit stories from the region--there are plenty of butterfly habitat stories in south Florida? So, maybe our online writing is filling the gaps left elsewhere.
To find out what changed everything for my writing, read the rest of this story over on Garden Rant.