This article is going to be a bit of philosophy and a bit of marketing — both of which are essential for writers to understand.
I have been a professional writer for almost three years now. Throughout all these years, I have received several tips from my mentors and other writers.
The advice that I got mostly revolved around “write as you speak” or “use Grammarly” or “cite academic sources only.”
But from my personal experience, there’s one skill, which has nothing to do with writing, that’s very important to wow your readers.
Let’s understand what it is.
We’re All Biologically Connected (According to Science)
They say that all humans descend from a common ancestor. Not only this, but evolutionary biologists also say that all mammals originate from one parent species. That means cats, bats, blue whales, cows, lions, and, of course, humans, have a common ancestry.
What does this mean?
It’s simple. Although we have different bodies that we have to feed, bathe, and clean — we are all connected.
For example, unless you’re a psychopath, it’d bother you, or at least concern you a little, if some kids get injured during a war — even if they’re not your kids.
You’ll be infuriated if your best friend gets fired from their job — even when you have a five-figure salary. It’ll kill your appetite if you watch a documentary that shows people starving in a third-world country, even if your fridge is full of delicious food.
But why? Why does it affect you when other humans suffer?
The reason is empathy!
A feeling of being considerate and sympathetic to others’ experience — that’s empathy.
Feeling the pain and problems of others — that’s empathy.
Adjusting your behavior so others don’t feel uncomfortable around you — that’s empathy.
And writing what your readers will enjoy reading — that, my friend, is empathy.
Here’s What Empathy Looks Like From a Marketer’s Perspective
The image above is taken from my recent article The Professional Secret to Finding Your Target Audience in which I’ve comprehensively explained how to find your niche.
The whole point of finding your niche is to understand who your target audience is and empathizing with their pain points — which you as a writer/business owner can address.
Yes, you want to sell your products and want people to read your work. However, it’s not just about what you want to write, it’s also about what the reader would find interesting — that’s just the way it is.
It’s good if you identify as a New Age empath who sympathizes with the entire human race. Even if you don’t, understanding what your fellow humans feel is hardwired deep in your DNA (unless you have a psychological/biological dysfunction that prohibits you from being empathetic).
However, if you want to be empathetic in a professional way and become a successful writer, the infographic above is not only good but it’s mandatory — that’s how professional marketers do it — all around the globe!
For example, if your target audience is single professionals in their late 20s who are living in Australia, you’re going to have to understand their pain, their pleasure, their daily routine, their opinions, and interests in order to connect with them on a deeper level.
Marketers call it segmentation and targeting, I call it empathizing with your reader/listener/customer.
What Unempathetic Writing Looks Like
Today, I received an email from someone who claims that he can teach me how to find new copywriting clients.
The whole email was about him and his company. The writer was not at all empathetic about my experience.
Firstly, there was no personalization — it was just copy-pasted. God knows how many unfortunate people received that email. Clearly, I was one of them.
Secondly, more than half of the information in the email was irrelevant to me. Of course, he didn’t bother creating a target audience document, he simply copy-pasted the same email to hundreds (maybe thousands) of recipients.
And the worst part is, the email had a coupon code for free tickets for some event that’s going to happen far away from my country. The whole event is about them and their products — which are of no use to me.
Alright, guys, you can take your palm off your face now.
I bet you thought that the most important thing to become a well-paid writer is to have a Bachelor in Literature from Harvard or some natural, genetic talent for writing in your lineage.
It’s simply not true. Empathy is key in writing and in business — and you can have it even if you don’t know how to read and write.
In most humans, empathy occurs naturally. But due to the daily hustle and bustle in this fast-paced life, we tend to go all “me, me, me, me” in our writing.
In this day and age where New Age spirituality is on the rise, a lot of spiritually inclined people identify as empaths and preach kindness, love, and tolerance — nothing wrong with that.
But please understand that that’s not what I’m talking about. By empathy, I just mean that you should take a few moments to precisely know who your target audience is, and then take a few more moments to see the world through their eyes before you start writing for them. Be considerate about their experience, not just yours.
As I’ve mentioned before, even though we have different bodies, we do have a lot of commonalities, too. Common pains and pleasures. Common likes and dislikes. Common needs and wants. Understand these and you’ll become a way better writer than you are now.
How do you empathize with your audience? Let me know in the comments.