Those of us running our own businesses will know that blog-writing is a cornerstone of any content management strategy. We have a plethora of platforms on which to publish our own content, and numerous opportunities to outline our unique perspectives, showcase our knowledge and experience, raise our visibility and differentiate ourselves from our competitors. But what is the purpose underpinning our writing?
Of course, you want people to read your content. You have devoted your valuable time to crafting your copy and this is motivation to write clearly. You may have been told that you must write regularly because it boosts SEO. But I am delving deeper. I am talking about what you would like your reader to do, or feel, as a result of having read your material. This is about the relationship you have with your reader and your purpose for communicating with them.
What is your general purpose?
Are you trying to entertain your reader? You could be sharing a funny story on Instagram perhaps, but this will still have a purpose – to show your human side, a little self-deprecation, a chance for people to see the real person behind the polished veneer.
Are you sharing your opinion or feelings? Are you trying to convert others to your point of view, to persuade them that your perspective is clear-sighted, useful and needs to be shared? Or that someone else’s position is faulty, without substantive basis, or otherwise wrong?
Are you trying to inform others of facts or processes, or definition that your readers can take advantage of, or are you trying to persuade them to adopt a particular moral, or ethical, position?
Or do you want to inspire your audience? Will they act after reading your copy, filled with energy and passion because of what you have told them?
Your sense of purpose will determine your style, tone and the choice of words in your piece, as well as its structure.
What is your specific purpose?
Of course, a piece of writing may have more than one purpose, but when it comes to the short form, such as a blog, it should always have one specific purpose. Something which can be summed up in one sentence, which the audience can connect with. This is the reason why they are reading your work. Your specific purpose will clearly outline what they will gain by reading your blog.
Why being clear on your purpose will help you be a better writer?
Being clear on your general and specific purpose will help you to structure your blog, in a clear and logical fashion. Your content will flow, because the order of ideas and sentences will be composed in a way that makes sense.
It will help you to decide and order your main points and prevent you from wandering off track.
It will ensure that you deliver on your promise. How many times have you clicked on an article because of the promise in the headline, but been left feeling short-changed when the content fell short of the promise?
Being clear on your purpose will help you to construct a great final paragraph. Your conclusion is much more than just a way of neatly wrapping up your content. It addresses your general purpose; whether that be to inspire, inform, persuade and/or entertain. Your conclusion is how you will leave the reader feeling. For example; if your general purpose is to inspire – your conclusion will have a climatic ending, with a strong call to action, rousing the reading to take some form of action.
Questions to ask yourself
I would always advise writing with a clear sense of purpose, rather than doing it just because you think you should (although I do also advise writing every day as the best way to hone your skills). When writing something, ask yourself this: Why am I including this? Is it relevant to my specific purpose? Is this the right place to include it? Does it strengthen my message?
Remember, too, that things which may seem obvious to you won’t necessarily be the same to your reader. Sometimes, you have to spell things out.
Writing with purpose
Writing with a clear and well-defined purpose enables you to communicate your message with clarity, which, in turn, makes it more likely to resonate with your reader and achieve your desired outcome.