Whether it’s a blog entry, a Facebook post or a press release, before you even sit down and start pounding on the computer keyboard you should ask yourself one very important question:
Why are you about to write what you are about to write?
I don’t mean this in a “why I am here,” up-in-the-middle-of-the-night, pondering the big question kind of way. I mean it in the most literal, nuts and bolts sense.
What are you hoping the end result will be of this communications piece you’re about to produce?
If you’re not exactly sure, then you are the perfect candidate to play the “Always Annoying But Surprisingly Useful Always Ask Why” game! Excited?
Here’s an example of how this works,
and how it will help you shape your communications pieces
to produce the outcome you really want.
Hypothetical: It’s that time of year again when your organization starts promoting its annual celebration and working bee.
“Okay, so I better write a blog post to share on Facebook.”
Why? (Annoying question #1.)
“Well, because we always do.” (Cue “fail” buzzer noise.)
Why? (Annoying question #2.)
“Well, it would be good to get more people to help out.”
To do what? (Annoying question #3.)
“To help us with the clean up. ”
What sort of people? (Annoying question #4.)
“It would be great to see some new faces. ”
Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere.
Whereas what we started with was a fairly general piece about your event, what we ended up with was some very specific action asks and targets for your piece.
For example, here’s the very specific and useful things that came out of this example of the “Always Annoying But Surprisingly Useful Always Ask Why” game.
This piece of content should:
- Include a large “sign up” box in a prominent place, or highlight how people can sign up to help.
- Include a nice big photo of people helping out in previous years, and having fun!
- Be written for people who are not familiar with the group or project.
- Be promoted outside the orgs’ existing email list (to attract new faces).
So, next time you are getting set to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), take a moment and ask yourself “why?” And then ask it again. And again…
The result will be a communications piece that is strategic, intentional, and has a better chance of helping your organization achieve its immediate goals!