Every word you write has a purpose. Make sure that you are driving people back to you, the expert, to solve their problems!
Fiction authors, you may not think this includes you, but when you write a book, you officially have a business, and writing for a business is a little different from writing a story. Anyone writing for their businesses has to be able to hook the audience and clearly define their purpose to achieve their goals.
Once you have identified your audience and what they might need to know, start thinking about how you can help them out or—in the case of grant or award application writing—what information the organization wants to hear to make you or your business the recipient.
If you are writing to educate or persuade your audience, consider these questions.
- How will my information benefit the reader?
- Am I focusing on one specific aspect of my specialty? Is there enough to discuss to warrant the word count they are looking for (if applicable)?
- Can I provide simple lists to help them?
- Do I need to link to other sites/references to help support my ideas?
- What can I say to demonstrate that I am an expert in my field?
If you are writing with the hope of receiving something in return (donations, award, grants, etc.), consider these questions:
- Who has won these grants/awards before? Do we have similar missions? Can I access any part of their award form or nomination letters that will help me see what the awarding organization is looking for?
- Does the application clearly state what they are looking for? Can I identify those exact points about me/my organization? Do I have enough support to convince the committee that I should be the winner?
- What does the organization value that I also value? How can I capitalize on this shared interest?
*A special note for award and grant applications—I cannot stress this enough: if you know that you are not qualified for an award or grant, DO NOT apply for it. Award committees love to read about qualified recipients and look forward to selecting one of them for a grant or award. However, if you or your organization fall short based on the requirements—and you know it—do not apply. Applying for awards that you aren’t qualified for wastes your time, wastes the committee’s time, and possibly black marks you or your organization, rendering it more difficult for you to win future awards.
As much as possible, your purpose should direct the reader to a clear call to action. Identify exactly what you want the reader to do, and provide them with a specific path to take (calling a number, clicking a button, visiting your website, dubbing you the award recipient, etc.). Even if you think your purpose is just to educate the reader, determine what you want out of their education: they might come to you for more information, buy a book you wrote on the topic, etc.
- What is the call to action? What result do I hope to encourage with my writing? Do I want them to seek more information from me, join a cause, or make a donation?
- How can I make it easy for my reader to take that action?
- Can I clearly state both the call to action and how to take action?
You do have a lot of things to consider when thinking about your purpose, but organizing your thoughts with a specific goal in mind will make achieving your goal that much easier. Make your point with each word chosen carefully to fulfill your purpose, and you will see a difference in the response from your readers!
If you have questions or suggestions for future posts, please contact me or comment below.