From Thom Chambers' The Micropublisher, Issue Two, comes this bit about publishing for readers:
What if your work continues not to land, not to have impact, even when you’re proud of it?
Well, when your goals are focused on the internal, on the things you can control, then you can react. It becomes a question of knowing what the right work is.
First, make sure your story is right. Are you publishing things that people want to read? Are you publishing for the right audience?
This comes back to starting with why and being authentic. When you stand for something, when you believe in something, you attract those who believe the same. Then, make publications that delight those readers. Rather than writing something and seeking out new readers for it, you write for your existing readers. Focus on delighting them, repeatedly.
If as publishers we're constantly focused on controlling the audience, then it's a lose-lose game. We can't control the audience. Instead, we should focus on what we can control: what's inside us. We should focus on speaking to readers, on thinking one-to-one and communicating with humans not statistics.