am I communicating? 3 questions to ask before you hit publish

am I communicating? 3 questions to ask before you hit publish - design by insightI was a speech communication major in college. From my first Fundamentals of Public Speaking class I was taught communication is a receiver-oriented phenomenon. In other words, unless the receiver understood my message, all I had done was talk, not communicate.

The same is true of blogging. We seek to communicate a specific message to our readers. Herein lies the problem for many — in order to communicate a specific message effectively, you must know what your message is.

If you’ve been blogging for more than a month or two, you know you need to identify your purpose, the message, of your blog as a whole. We often communicate this purpose through our taglines. For example, the tagline for my personal blog is “permission to live well.” Whether I am writing about family, faith, or figuring out how to manage the chaos of daily life, my desire is to offer others permission to live well.

This is where we sometimes get into trouble. We know why we are blogging in general … but we don’t always stop and think about what we want to communicate in each post.

Today I want to share with you three questions to ask to make sure you have given your audience a specific and easily understood message in each blog post.

How would I summarize this post in one sentence?

You could call this the elevator pitch for your post. For example, last week I wrote 4 ways to develop a blog post. My one sentence summary for the post is, “This post offers practical suggestions for taking a big concept and identifying four different ways to develop a post from the bigger idea.” {Bonus, this sentence could very easily become the foundation of your meta description for the post as well.}

What if you can’t summarize the post in one sentence? It happens, trust me! This next question can help.

Do I have unnecessary information in this post?

As you read over your post, evaluate the information you have included. Is it all relevant to the main point you desire to communicate? Sometimes we offer more information than is needed. Perhaps you need to edit parts of the post to create a more cohesive flow. It may be the additional information is worth developing for other posts. Often when I start answering this question I realize there is a series of posts I could write. This is exactly what happened with the going local posts I wrote late last year. As I made notes and crafted my post, I realized there were two distinct points I wanted to address: using your blog for your community and using what you’ve learned blogging in your community. Remember, just because it isn’t necessary in the post you are writing doesn’t mean it isn’t useful for another post.

And finally, the third important question …

What do I want the reader to do in response to this post?

I’ve written before about the importance of a great call to action. You have to know what you want the reader to do next — and you have to spell that out for your readers! Don’t be shy about the call to action. Make sure your call to action is clear before you hit publish!

Communication is more than the words we write. It’s our ability to convey our message to our readers. Often we focus on improving our writing by tightening up sentence structure and double-checking grammar — and we should! But we are more than writers, we are communicators. Let’s make sure we are conveying our message in a manner easily understood by the receiver.

How did I do? My one sentence summary for this post is:

“Am I Communicating?” helps bloggers ask three important questions before publishing each post to ensure their message is clear and understood by their readers.

Give me a one sentence summary of one of your recent posts and make sure to include the link. I’d love to check out what you are writing!