Writing for your audience is one of the keys to writing effectively. If you don't understand your readers, you're going to have a hard time making that initial connection and holding their interest. For example, grant writers know they have to focus on the relevance, validity, and impact of their project, and an employee or manager tasked with writing a new employee manual knows that comprehensiveness and ease of reference is key.
Before you begin to write, develop a reader profile by answering these questions:
- Who are my readers? Why are they reading my work, and why is my work important to them? What do they need to gain or learn from my document?
- What's their level of language proficiency? This isn't just about school-age kids: if you work internationally, you may be confronted with issues of translation, and if you work in a field with a lot of technical terms , you may have to explain, define, or omit them when writing for your audience.
- How do my readers read? Do they skim or look for bullet points and keywords in the middle of a busy workday ? Or do they sit down and study the document? Do they read straight through, or do they hop from topic to topic as their questions need to be answered?
- What do I want my readers to understand, think, believe, or feel after reading? Is my goal to inform, persuade, or something else? And what are the benefits for them that would convince them?
- What does my audience already know, and what do I need to explain or correct?
Want to learn more on how to be a better writer? Attend our webinar , "Are Your Documents Confusing Readers" on Feb. 7, 2014. Contact us at Hurley Write, Inc . to learn more about effectively writing for your audience.
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