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.

Go BIGGER!

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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Nancy L. Erickson

About Nancy L. Erickson

Nancy L. Erickson has written 22 posts in this blog.

International book marketer, executive book coach, international speaker, and author advocate Nancy L. Erickson is known as The Book Professor because she helps everyday people write high-impact nonfiction books that will save lives, change lives, or transform society. Titles credited to her name include A Life in Parts, for which she received back-cover endorsements from Sir Paul McCartney and Cindy Crawford. Using a methodology she developed, Erickson leads her clients through the writing and publishing process, from initial concept to a draft manuscript, finished manuscript, professionally published product, and internationally marketed product. Erickson is the owner of Stonebrook Publishing, a small press she founded in 2009, and is the creator and owner of Bookarma, a book marketing platform where authors help authors market their books globally through shared social networks. She has presented her innovative ideas at BEA and the Frankfurt Book Fair, where she was a featured speaker.

8 thoughts on “Three questions to help you crystallize and focus your message

  1. Thanks for this helpful post, Nancy. I love it when writing can be equated to a straightforward ‘formula’. It really helps to clarify a message this way.

  2. Susie Lyon-Heap says:

    Your short and to the point pieces of advice, are very helpful

  3. Nicolas says:

    This post is very powerful and informative, i was about to give things up but after reading this post, now i know someone out there needs me, yes me, thank you Nancy, by the way you are a strong and good influence, keep up the good work.

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