Writing for your audience is #1. It doesn’t matter if you are “just getting what you think out there.” If you want to be effective, you must write according to your audience.
You wouldn’t sell a calendar to a SAHM the way you would an executive. You wouldn’t use American slang when writing for an international audience. You wouldn’t use scientific words when communicating with pharmaceutical users.
You have to thoroughly understand your audience, not just assume, and speak to them in their own language.
But #2, especially when writing for someone else, is establishing and maintaining a specific voice. Especially if you want to stand out from all the others similar to you. And you do want to stand out.
Voice is the way you use words in your brand. It includes vocabulary, formatting, sentence structure, formality, style…how you say what you want your audience to hear.
Developing and maintaining your own voice is challenging enough, but writing in the voice of another is even more difficult. Especially if you have a strong voice (and an ego and confidence and don’t care what others think).
But I am in a situation now where I am writing for a client’s client. Someone I have never met and likely have no access to. And I am tasked to help establish him as a thought-leader.
I’ve done research online, but there is little of him without the company brand overshadowing his personal brand. So I’ve created a questionnaire.
Ideally, my client’s client will make a video of himself answering these questions so I can better imagine him as the speaker in my writing. Nonetheless, he will give me fodder for anecdotes, influences and, of course, ideas.
I have a tendency to be overwhelming in information, so I made sure to break up the 25+ questions into topics so they seem easier to tackle.
You may also use these to help you determine what and how you want to say in your own brand, personal or company.
What’s cool about having a client answer these questions is that not only do you get to know them better and establish a voice and direction, but they get to know themselves better. Many people haven’t taken the time to focus on personal branding. And in many cases that’s fine. But if your name is on something, you need to make sure it’s in line with who you are.