To hone your writing, whatever your genre, you need to articulate your purpose, know your audience, and focus your message so it’s not just read – it’s remembered.
When writing – be it a short story, an exposé, or marketing copy – there are three questions you should answer to help clarify and focus your message.
1. What’s the purpose?
A bio is not the same as a blog post, which is not the same as copy for a page on a website. Each end product has it’s own purpose, and before you begin writing, you need to establish the purpose of the piece.
You probably have a general idea of what you want to write, and I challenge you to distill it down to a Purpose Statement before you start. Your Purpose Statement should say, “The purpose of this (blog/article/book/web copy/marketing message) is to ___________________.
Complete that sentence. Bear in mind that it’s one sentence, not a paragraph.
Example: The purpose of this article is to inspire others to create a larger legacy through their writing.
2. Who is the intended audience?
If you don’t know your audience, it’s like playing spin-the-bottle in the dark. Don’t you want to know who you’re going kiss before you pucker up? Likewise, you need to envision your audience. What you write isn’t for everyone; it’s for a specific slice of readers.
Picture your perfect reader. What is she looking for? What’s his age, demographic, marital status? Are they conservative or liberal? How do they identify themselves? Complete this sentence: The audience for this piece is ___________________.
Example: The audience for this article is entrepreneurs who want to create a larger legacy.
3. Why this message?
Writers not only want to be read, they want to be remembered. If your content doesn’t elicit a response, then you’ve wasted your time. It will be forgotten as quickly as it was read.
You must create some type of change in the reader. How will they be different as a result of what you wrote? What change, as slight as it may be, do you want to invoke in the reader? Do you want to move them to action? Give them hope? Make them smile? Consider the end result and write down how you want your readers to be affected.
Example: This article will inspire entrepreneurs to first crystallize, then expand their message.
Now pull the three components together into a single statement.
Example: The purpose of this article is to inspire entrepreneurs to first crystallize and then expand their message, so they can create a larger legacy.
Ready, set, write.
Now that you know your audience, you can write for their perspective, not yours. What do they want to know? What information are they seeking? What new message or perspective can you deliver? Compelling content always meets the need, and your job is to deliver what the audience is seeking.
To crystallize your message, include specific content that achieves the stated purpose, nothing else. Readers absorb focused content, and everything you write should drive toward that message, that audience, that purpose, and that result.
If you want a bigger audience, you need a bigger platform. With a little tweaking, you can extend your message and deliver it through multiple venues, like writing a book or delivering workshops, speaking engagements, and online courses. This isn’t simply an opportunity for you; it’s a service to others. When you share what you’ve learned, what you’ve developed, and what you’ve overcome, you can change the life or direction of someone else. Someone is looking for what’s hidden inside you. Whether your message is about your business, lessons you’ve learned, or about how to connect on a soul-level with your dog, if you have a passionate solution, someone else needs it!
Your legacy is about the lives you touch and the change you create. When you share what you know, what you’ve learned, and what you’ve overcome, you can make a lasting impact that extends far beyond yourself.
Image via ShutterStock.com.
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