On we go, after yesterday’s Chapter One, on Audience, let’s hit Chapter Two – “Have an objective

image This is going to be a very short chapter, because there are some very simple rules that you can follow to make sure that there’s actually an objective (or “point”!) to your blog posts. There are two questions that work, whether you are writing a blog post, or a presentation, or letter or any other form of communication.

And the questions are about what you want to happen at the end in the mind of your audience?

  • What do you want people to think?

  • What do you want them to do?

That’s it. No magic. I have used this for years – before I sit down and write a presentation, I get a clean sheet of paper and write down 2 or 3 bullet points underneath these two questions. You’d be amazed how easy it becomes to focus on writing your presentation, and also it means that when you’ve finished, you can come back to your piece of paper and check that you’ve hit your objectives.

Sometimes I do this check, and find that I’ve wandered off into writing a completely different presentation, by mistake. Other times, I’ve found that I’ve got 20 minutes to present a one-hour presentation. These questions helps me to kill the 40 irrelevant minutes.

This works really well for blog posts too. And it is ideal if you have a vague idea - if you’ve got an idea for a blog post, but don’t know how to approach it.

Or even better, if you’re blogging in an organisation, and you have somebody else giving you blog post ideas which aren’t right for your audience – if they fail the “think/do” test, then probably they aren’t right for your readers.

I quite often use this, because people approach me all the time and say “you should really put this onto your blog”. Sometimes it’s people in positions of authority over me. But the “think/do” test helps me to keep irrelevant stuff off the blog.
Last month Microsoft won an award for The Best Workplace in Europe. And somebody said “You should blog that”. But given that most network managers work in what could only be described “The xxxxx Workplace in Europe” (choose your own xxxxx word: hottest; most cramped; untidiest; darkest), then unless my ‘think’ objective was ‘jealous’ then it’s not for the blog!

Typical “think/do” examples are:

  • Think: This is clever  Do: Download the software
  • Think: I can use this  Do: Try it in a lesson
  • Think: This is contentious    Do: Add a comment
You may wonder, what was the Think/Do for this blog post?

Think: That’s simple, easy to remember and might work

Do: Try it on a presentation and on a blog post, and see if it is helpful