Writing For An Audience Of One

I am lucky to have this blog. An outlet, a way to connect with the world around me. A sword and a shield. A place that’s entirely mine, where I can craft, mold, refine, and share my ideas, and hear about how great or how wrong it all is in the comments. Now that I’ve been writing here for a bit over a year in earnest, I’ve been pleasantly surprised about how the site looks, feels, and the archives of content, both text and video. I plan to expand on all of it, and to reorganize some of the content in categories, especially the video. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, expect a lot more stuff from now until the end of 2013, more resurfacing of my old videos (with transcripts).

And, thank you for reading, of course. One of the aspects of building this blog that I’ve wrestled with, however, may be counterintuitive. Many readers here and my friends have encouraged me to invest energy in building the audience for Haywire, to use techniques like getting more email subscribers, or to syndicate the content to more networks, or to churn out content more often, and to constantly measure how many views a post may generate. The assumption is: with more views, the regular audience grows, and Google rewards the clicks with more and more relevance.

I wrestle with this because I believe the opposite is true for me. For what I do and what matters to me, I don’t really care how many people read what I write. Sure, it’s nice to have some people come by and hang around, but I am not trying to create a funnel and to pump more into that funnel. Instead, I’m trying to write about what’s on my mind, what’s important to me — to write for an audience of one: you. That’s because I believe an individual unique visitor holds great power. I would much rather have eight people read one of my posts and feel a connection with me, so much that they’re compelled to reach out to me versus being part of the immediate social chatter box.

If you scroll to the bottom of my blog, you’ll see a quote in the footer from Epicurus, which reads:

“I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.”

People who are writing to get more and more views, and to pump up their brand and drink their own Kool-Aid, or to position themselves as smarter than you — they’re often writing with clear objectives that may not align with your intent, to accomplish a goal, one that usually involves broadcast reach and word-of-mouth. You won’t get that here, I promise. I truly believe that “each of us is enough of an audience for the other” because it’s the depth and strength of a 1:1 connection that makes the difference in business and in life.

Haystack is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2018 Semil Shah.

“I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.”— Epicurus