This is a reprint of one of Paul Myers’ newsletter issues.
I have his (exceptional) permission to do so. 🙂
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll find that your readership goes through the roof.
“Create an Outline”
Not many people can just ramble around their points and keep the attention of an audience composed of more than Mom. If you want to try and learn it, start a blog. Keep at it until you figure it out. It’s not hard, but it’s more art than science.
It’s scary to see how many people lose their audience because the audience becomes confused. That’s the result of two things: Disorganized thought and unclear explanation.
The good news is that both of those can be avoided easily. Just create a clear outline of your article (or report, or book) before you start writing the actual product.
Look it over for gaps, places where the message might be garbled because you’ve left out something important. Make sure the points you’re making are in the right order and follow each other logically.
When you’ve got a clear outline, then you can start writing. You’ll spot things you missed as you write. Don’t be surprised by that.
The only really complete outline is the finished product.
“To Reach a Group, Write to One Person”
The best way to talk to a group of strangers is to pick out a familiar face in the crowd and talk to that one person.
That may sound odd but, if you gathered the group around a common theme or interest, many of them will respond to the same things. They’ll have similar goals, a common “language,” and be involved in the same process.
That makes your job really easy.
Pick one person you know who needs to learn what you’re teaching and write the whole thing to them. Or, pick a photo out of a magazine that looks like it could be of someone in your market, write down their situation and what they need to learn, and write to that “imaginary” person.
Adapt your tone for that one person. Make your message clear to them, and don’t worry about everyone else. Surprisingly, everyone else will “get it” too.
“Don’t Worry. Be Human”
Ignore the “Wombats” of the world. Pay no attention to the grammar cops or the arbiters of “professionalism.” Talk to people like you know them personally. Say what you have to say in the clearest way you can.
No matter what the nay-sayers tell you, you are most definitely allowed to be angry, sad, happy, frustrated, confused, excited, nervous, jubilant and even proud.
One thing you are not allowed to be, by your readers, is unreasonable. Unless, of course, you’re a partisan blogger, in which case that’s expected. Even, dare I say it, reasonable.
Know Thy Audience!
And let they audience know thee.
Read more in Are You Really That Boring Part 6.
Oh, and if you’re really smart, you sign up for TalkBiz News
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