In my last post, I said you have to choose a goal for your communication. If you don’t decide on a goal before writing, don’t be surprised if you end up with a random outcome.
A few people have wondered if you can write with multiple goals. It was pointed out that the examples I listed overlap. You might want your audience to get to know you, feel positive about your brand, or accept your message all at once.
I’m sure you are not shocked that I chose these examples precisely to start a discussion. Those goals are flawed for more reasons than have been pointed out.
Read on and all will become clear …
Focus Your Writing
It would be so easy for everyone if my examples were to “sell a product, entertain/inform, and gain a new email subscriber“.
Those are clearly different goals while being exactly what a lot of bloggers want to achieve with every blog post they write!
You can see yourself choosing those goals. They are easy goals to pick and are actionable.
In fact, those examples in practice are just as overlapping for many people as my prior examples. People routinely try to sell a product, gain a new subscriber, and entertain.
Though in the context of this discussion, it might seem crazy, people really do try. So by selecting examples that are even closer in intention, I hope you started thinking exactly how you approach your communication.
Goals can be specific or vague. Choose specific.
Take the first two examples, “Get to know you” and “build your brand”. Are they really the same once you drill down into it? I would argue not. Each motivation is missing a “why“.
When someone says they want to be rich, do they mean they want to be able to buy anything they like, in which case what is the real need they are trying to fill?
Or do they really want freedom, in which case would they be just as happy having freedom in an alternative way?
Maybe they want power? Or to take away financial insecurity? Could it be a lifestyle they want, which they associate with being rich?
Why do you want your audience to get to know you? The approach you take to help someone know you better will be different depending on the actual outcome you want. Are you looking to make friends? Is this a networking activity? Do you want a potential client to know your service offering?
“Branding” is often bandied around as a means to an end, but the activity of branding can never be separated from the experience of dealing with you. You can communicate “brand messages” all you like but your reality will always speak louder.
What exactly do you want to get across to the audience and how does that relate to the truth of you and what you do?
Lastly, there is activity around spreading your ideas and messages.
- Why do you want to spread your ideas?
- What purpose will it solve having more people hear them?
- Which ideas do you need to spread?
There are many social media celebrities who wish that their message had not spread.
There has to be a further outcome you are trying to bring about.
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Know your destination. Decide how you are going to get there
One piece of communication is a single cog in a complex machine. You have to know the purpose and place of each component. It is possible for each part to do more than one job, but the more you try to do at once the more clearly directed you need to be.
You do not have to have exact answers for any of this. The point I am trying to make is this: