What goes through your mind when you’re writing a story on deadline?
Probably something like, “Shoot, I only have an hour to get this out. Come on, brain. Think of a lede!”
You probably don’t ask, “Who is my reader? What do I want him to gain from this story?”
But you should, says John Sturtevant, a business writing instructor. In this video, Sturtevant reveals his best tip for writing on deadline: Focus on your reader.
“People get so caught up in deadlines, and so caught up in process, that they think, ‘I can’t possibly spend time thinking. I’ve got to get this done!'”
Instead, take a few moments to gather your thoughts by asking yourself these questions:
1. Who are my readers? Are your readers engineers, finance professionals or C-suite executives? Identify who the content is for so you can write for them.
2. What do I want my readers to learn? Don’t think about what you’re trying to say; think about what you want readers to take away from the story. This gives you a chance to pursue new ideas, Sturtevant explains.
3. Should I tell the story in different ways for different readers? Once you know who you’re writing for and why, determine how you’ll present the material. Should you write an executive summary for the CEO, or include a table of contents so the engineers can jump right to the material they need? Think about how your readers can easily find and digest the information.
For more writing tips, like how to find your brand’s voice and write headlines that hook readers instantly, register for our upcoming webinar, “Create a brand voice that crushes your competition.”