So, you’ve got something to write. If you want to make sure that it’s effective and gets your message across (and who doesn’t?!), here are five things to consider.
Who are you talking to?
In other words, think about who will be reading what you’ve written. This might be:
- your target market
- people with influence over your target market
- people who know who you are
- people who don’t know who you are
Knowing who you’re talking to will help you answer the next question…
What do you want to say to them?
Have you got to tell them about a new product or service? Are you giving them useful information? Are you passing on your expertise? Are you apologising?
Knowing the answer to this will help you with the next question…
Why should they bother reading what you have to say?
Most people are busy. The chances are they won’t have the time or inclination to try to work out why they should read what you’ve got to say. So remember:
- if you’re trying to sell them something, focus on the benefits not the features (more on this in the next blog!)
- don’t make them work too hard to get to the information they need – structure your writing well and make it clear up-front what you’re going to be saying so people can decide if they want to read on or not.
Where will they be reading it?
The way you need to write differs depending on whether you’re writing a blog, a magazine article, a website, a leaflet etc. Make sure you’re writing in an appropriate way for the medium because it will help your readers feel more trusting of you and what they’re reading. (This is the business world’s equivalent of not using text speak in an essay.)
How much space do you have?
If you’ve got a word count to work to, it may help you to jot down all the points you need to make and work out roughly how many words you’ve got for each point. Where you’re thinking in terms of space rather than numbers of words, a good rule of thumb is less is more. If you’ve thought about the previous questions, you’ll be able to write something that’s clear, coherent, compelling and succinct.
If you only take one thing from this, remember it’s all about your reader not about you. If you write with your reader in mind, you’ll be writing something effective.
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