By: Kathy MacLean
Have you ever felt uninspired by your writing? Content rewrites don’t help, nor does reflection bring you “inspiration”. If your writing lacks focus or is causing you to go in circles, you may need to reassess your strategy. Focusing on two of the 5W’s (who, what, when, where, why and sometimes how) may help you find your way forward.
Who is the Audience?
Priority number one in my mind is the audience. You can write a killer article, but if you are aren’t tailoring your message to a target audience, your writing will wander all over the place.
If you want to understand your audience, this Audience Needs Map created by Nancy Duarte (the creative mind behind Al Gore’s Academy Award winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”) should help you get to know them inside out.
The worksheet conceived for visual presentations appears in Ms. Duarte’s book Slide:ology. I have used the map successfully for years to understand audiences for a wide range of content ranging from web pages to newsletters to award winning proposals.
Why do they need this content?
Delving into the purpose of your messaging – “the why” – is my second priority. Creating a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve with the message and why the subject is important to your audience, will help clarify what you say and how you say it.
The next time you want to create a stellar piece of content, try taking these steps but don’t stop there. You will also need to nail down your thoughts on the what, when, where and how. You’ll be amazed by the clarity the answers to these questions will bring to your work.
If you hit the right audience with compelling content you will know you were on target when they take the time to comment, like and share. So folks, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”