When you drive to an unknown location, do you use a map or GPS device? I don’t know about you, but it’s difficult for me to figure out where I’m going without looking at directions BEFORE I start my journey. Similar to driving, I apply the same concept when writing. It’s all about preparation and direction. Before you write another essay, blog or e-newsletter, there are four questions you should ask yourself. These four questions were introduced to me by a great professor, and they have been my guide to writing great content.
What is your purpose?
There is purpose behind everything we do. Why are you writing the blog? What is your intended outcome? My purpose for writing “Four Questions to Ask Yourself” is to suggest an effective writing method to others.
Who is the audience?
Once you know your audience, you can structure your content to relate to their interests, wants, and emotions. The audience for my business is small business owners. When I created the content for my homepage, I included “I’m an entrepreneur, writer and social media manager dedicated to helping small businesses turn up the volume in the noisy online world. You can trust me to take care of your business as if it was my own!” If I was targeting busy moms or large brands, I may have went in a different direction.
What is the medium?
How is your content being delivered? Is it a book, website, newspaper, magazine, eBook or e-newsletter. Smashing Magazine does a great job of explaining the importance of mediums in the article The Medium is The Message.
What is the message?
What message do you want to get across to your audience? You have to make sure that you get the intended message across without any confusion. If you use jargon your audience won’t understand, they may miss the entire message. A message is only successful when the sender and receiver perceive it the same way.
Take a look at this LinkedIn article Want to Be Taken Seriously? Become a Better Writer.
I know that we’re all pressed for time, but this method shouldn’t add more than 5 minutes to your writing process. Let me know if you try it!