Know Your Audience
So you’ve decided you want to write something. What now? Well, before you get started, it’s important to know your audience, to know who you are writing for. Whether it’s a formal letter, a report, a friendly email or the next great poem, you need to know who will be reading your words in order to craft the perfectly penned piece.
Knowing who will read what you write, why they are likely to read it and what they should take away from your writing will help you focus on the content that is important and how to tailor it in a way to not only convey meaning but also truly speak to (and move) them.
It is also important to keep in mind who else might read what you write, the “secondary” audience. While your writing isn’t intended specifically for this audience, keep in mind that your words can be easily copied and pasted or otherwise passed on. Be sure to only write things you are willing to stand behind; your words represent you when you are not there.
Adapting to Your Audience
Once you know your audience, you can modify your writing (and the content) to suit them. The two main questions you need to ask yourself are: (1) what is my audience concerned with? and (2) what action(s) do I want them to take after reading this? For example, a report written for a corporate organization on the status of an ongoing project will be written very differently from a blog post about the same project. The audiences are different and have different expectations. Moreover, you want them to act differently after reading your piece.
Now that you know who your audience is, what their expectations are and what you want them to do, you’re ready to get that proverbial pen moving. Be sure to check back for our next post on finding your writing voice to make your writing stand out.