Before you write

Before you write any copy, you have to know the answers to these five questions:

1. Who is your audience?

If you are a business, is your audience your customers or people you want to be your customers? If you are a non-profit, is your audience your donors or your clients? In either case, think of your best customer or donor or client, and write to him or her. Even if you are publishing a mass communication, you are still speaking to one person at a time.

2. What is your objective or purpose?

What is the end result of your communication? After your audience receives it, what do you want them to do (immediately or eventually)? If you don’t require an action, what at least do you want your audience to understand or to believe?

3. What do you want to say?

And, if words aren’t enough, what do you want to show?

4. How do you want to compose this message?

Will it be a written document, a spoken message, or a song? Will your visuals be still images, animation, or live action? Do you want to use music or other sounds?

5. How do you want to deliver this message?

Will you send it by mail, phone, fax, web, email, or social media? Will you deliver it in person? If the latter, will it be 1-on-1 or to a group? Will it be by you or by someone else?