You don’t need to be a great writer, you just need to give people a reason to care.
I have one of my former bosses to thank for one of the simplest yet most important lessons I ever learned about communication: the ‘So What?’ test.
It applies to everything you write that’s intended for a public audience. Spend as long as you like crafting the most beautiful message ever committed to 12pt Arial, but if you leave out the ‘So What?’ then expect it to be ignored.
There’s an awful lot of noise out there. Just look at all the articles and posts on your LinkedIn feed. If you’ve got something to say and want to be remembered in a crowd, give your readers a reason to invest their valuable time in you.
“What’s in it for them?”
We were a Comms & Engagement team so this was an obvious, critical principle for us. But whether you’re a freelancer, widget-selling small business owner or strategy-defining global leader, it’s just as important for getting your point across.
This doesn’t necessarily mean adding a direct call to action to every piece you write, although sometimes that’s appropriate. For example, if you’re starting up a new business, does the story on your own website let people buy-in to you emotionally? Or if you’re writing a blog post about establishing meaning for your audience, have you explained why anyone should care?
The ‘So What?’ test. To ignore it is to be forgotten.
Thank you Niamh, you’re one of the best.
RESEARCH QUESTION: Do you ever take the ‘So What?’ Test?