no-1picture1If you want to write better,
I suggest you start with my
No. 1 rule: Always write with your audience in mind.

Before you even put pen to paper, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who do I want to read this?
  • What do they want to know?
  • Why do they want to know it?
  • How [and where] will they be reading it?
  • What do I want them to do next?

You may not know the answers to all these questions, but any insight into your audience will ensure you give them what they want, even need.

Let’s take an example.

Suppose you are an accountant who just read the latest changes in tax code. You find it fascinating. But you want your clients and prospective clients—not fellow accountants—to read your blog post. Obviously, clients will be more interested in how the changes are going to affect their tax returns. Will they owe more money to the IRS, or less?

Of course, you still may want to write about the thrilling details of the tax code. Really it is fascinating. Just choose the appropriate medium, like a professional journal targeted to accountants and tax professionals.

To help you focus on the right readers (and buyers), consider developing a series of reader personas.

A persona is a fictional representative of your target audience. It often is an amalgam of several people within the same demographic, psychographic, or social group. Sometimes pulled from your imagination or past experience, the best—most useful—personas are based on research.

A little research will give you concrete insights into the specific needs, interests, and behaviors of your target audience. Research helps you answer some of those critical questions mentioned above: What do they want to know? And why?

A persona can be very detailed or a quick snapshot. No matter the length, an effective persona has a little demographic information, a little biographic information, a few points on goals, and a brief outline of major problems or issues. If your market research included interviews, include actual quotes from that research. Just attribute them to your fictional character. Even add a picture to make it seem more real and personal.