We All Listen to Only One Radio Station

You should begin with the thing your readers should take away from your post, and why it matters to them.

Technology Transformation Services (TTS Handbook), U.S. General Services Administration, Home of 18F

Exactly right. And exactly what most people don’t do when writing website copy, or really anything for public consumption, based on what I see coming from many organizations.

The quote is from this Blogging Guide, part of the TTS Handbook from a wing of the U.S. Government, and I invite you to take a look. The modification of the user story format to create a similar tool for evaluating blog posts is, well, *chef’s kiss.*

What we publish really shouldn’t be about us, most of the time. It should be about our audience, our readers, and the problems they’re facing. When we talk about the stuff we’re doing, or the solutions we offer (and, uh, do we even think of ourselves as an organization that delivers solutions to people facing problems?) — When we talk about the stuff we’re doing on our websites or our blogs or our brochures… is our first sentence about them – our reader? And what they’ll be able to do better in their world, right after spending precious time reading our stuff?

There’s an old joke I’ll sometimes tell, which harkens back to my early days in radio. The truth of the matter is — everyone only listens to one radio station: W-I-I-F-M. And like the old station call letters of yesteryear – those call letters stand for something, just like “WLS” Chicago stood for “World’s Largest Store” and “WPTF” meant “We Protect the Family.” Here, the call letters of the only radio station everyone listens to — W-I-I-F-M, stand for “What’s In It For Me.”

It’s a joke, and I don’t mean to suggest you’re selfish or that everyone is, in all things. But, there be truth in this joke, and if you write for an organization or for yourself, it’s truth to heed.


Comments disabled.