Heroes don’t act selfishly, but selflessly.
Business writers should do the same, focusing not on their own needs but on readers’ needs. To succeed as a business writer, you should climb out of your world and into your readers’ world.
How can I climb into my readers’ world?
Think about what readers care about and imagine yourself in their shoes. Take their perspective.
Check out the difference between a writer-focused paragraph and a reader-focused one:
We recognize how strange these times are, and we want to be the first ones to respond. As a result, we want to generously offer free access to all of our online writing units for the duration of the pandemic. We teach writing better than anyone else, and now we teach it for free online. We hope this unprecedented offer does not go unnoticed.
On Friday the 13th, you said good-bye to your students, thinking you’d be back in class the next Monday. Then the pandemic hit, and on a dime you had to figure out how to teach from a distance—and not just teach, but also connect on a human level. We’re here to help you. Throughout the pandemic, you can use any of our online writing units for free with your students.
Notice how often the writer-focused paragraph uses we (6 times) and you (0 times). It overflows with self-congratulations, like “the first ones to respond” and “generously offer” and “teach writing better than anyone” and “unprecedented offer.”
Now notice how often the reader-focused paragraph uses we (1 time) and some form of you (7 times). This paragraph shows an understanding of readers’ perspectives, speaking to their experience and needs.
You can go one step further by connecting your ideas to specific reader needs.
How can I connect to specific reader needs?
Use Maslow’s Hierarchy, which displays needs that all humans have. At the lowest level are survival needs such as food, clothing, and shelter—needs that must be met before the next level becomes important.
Scan the hierarchy and select a specific need that readers have. Then write a sentence that connects your ideas to the need:
Employment: You can use these online writing resources to help your students create authentic writing forms and complete assignments as part of your Google Classroom workflow.
Then select another need and write a sentence that connects your ideas:
Problem-Solving: These intuitive writing units take the guesswork out of distance education, letting you spend your time on teaching and connecting from a distance.
When you focus on readers’ needs, you quickly become the hero they’ve been waiting for.