How Can I Discover My Readers’ Felt Needs?

How Can I Discover My Readers’ Felt Needs?

Do the ideas of a target audience and felt needs seem intimidating to you? If so, then no worries. You are in good company!  

 Social media is a place to reach out and capture the felt need of your reader, and your blog/website is your home you lead them to. It’s the place you invite people to enter — the place where you meet those felt needs.

 Once we know who we are writing to, we must decide what content we will provide. Do you want to be a general writer who is not a well-seasoned professional in one area? Or do you want to be that specialist everyone desires because you are known to be the best? Insider tip: A specific audience is always best! I wanted the best of the best doctors when I had a heart ablation a few years ago; no general doctor was good enough! 

 Now that we have narrowed down our audience, how do we determine their actual felt needs?  

  1. Ask open-ended questions on your social media accounts. Don’t be disappointed if there are not a lot of responses. I posted one, and it received NO comments. That’s OK. Next week, I might post and welcome 30 comments. Insider tip: The questions that stir up the most discussion might lead you to some felt needs of your readers.
  2. Survey the readers at your home base. There are several platforms where you can develop a survey to send to your email list. In the survey, you can ask yes/no questions and open-ended questions. 
  3. Develop a quiz. A few years ago, I put SO much time into creating a quiz that I just knew would go viral. Oh, how disappointed I was! Insider tip: Very few things go viral! However, I learned that the quiz, at that time, was not a hot topic of conversation. Did I waste my time? Absolutely not — I gained valuable insight from that failed quiz.
  4. Create a variety of freebies, and offer them throughout the year. Advertise them on your social media; send them to your email subscribers to ask for their insights, and then observe. What freebies were downloaded the most? What posts were shared a lot? Did your readers tell you what resonated with them? These are all insights into what your readers’ felt needs might be.
  5. Be present and interactive. Your social media platform is the commercial for your blog. It’s where you show up and invite people to visit your “home.” The more present and interactive you are in commenting and asking personal questions, the more understanding you will have of the felt need of your audience.

  Online we have an excellent opportunity to hang out, talk and learn more about felt needs. Once we have sparked a reader’s interest, we invite them to our home, aka our website, where they will find the right writing, the right freebie and the right person who knows how to speak to their heart. Two hundred people may say the same thing, but you are the only one who will reach some. There’s more than one heart surgeon in Alabama, but I knew which one I wanted! In a world where social media is busy and loud, your voice has its place. 


Karen Smith

 Where do you need to start gathering facts about felt needs? Is it time for surveys, freebies, etc.? Or do you need to build your home so that you can invite people in?


Karen Smith lives in Madison, AL, and graduated in 1996 from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR. She has served as preschool and children’s pastor and has been involved in women’s ministry for many years, leading small groups, making hospital visits, organizing retreats, and encouraging the hearts of women. Karen now blogs at What started out as communicating medical facts has become a place where Karen takes you from struggles to faith and uses life experiences to empower you to live life transformed. She is the author of Nearsighted: Choosing to See Eating Disorders Differently, which helps others come alongside loved ones who struggle with an eating disorder.

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  1. Hi Karen! These are such practical tips! Thank you so much.