The First Steps for Creating Must-Read Content

I recently had a blast doing a speaking event for the Louisville Society of Human Resources, and I credit much of my success to the hours I spent writing and preparing my speech. Before this event, I wasn’t the biggest fan of preparing, but as I worked on my speech, I came across many valuable lessons about the importance of preparing.

How to Find—and Prepare for—Your Audience

One of the biggest insights was the importance of finding the right approach for your audience. Whether you’re writing a book, giving a speech, or simply talking to your team members, it’s crucial to appeal to your audience.

In her book How to Write a Must-Read, AJ Harper distills the idea into something called a “reader first” mindset. With a reader first mindset, you recognize that your audience is using some of their valuable time, energy, and attention to read or listen to your words. To honor this, give them something of value in return. Recognize the energy they’re giving you by making them feel acknowledged, supported, or valued.

To practice a reader first mindset with your own words, the first step is identifying your audience. To do this, ask yourself questions like:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What do I want my audience to get out of reading or hearing my words?
  • How do I want to make people feel when they read or hear my words?

How to Craft Content for Your Audience

Once you’ve found your audience and discovered what they want, it’s time to craft your ideas. While preparing for my speech, I found three easy steps for finding the best way to communicate your message:

  1. Look at your calendar and find an opportunity to lead or be directly involved in a conversation
  2. Write out the “big idea” you want to share, three points to support your main idea, and notes about how you want others to feel about your message. By starting with this, you can frame your ideas in a way that works for you.
  3. After your conversation, ask for feedback. This will shape your future preparations and give you the inspiration you need to improve!

Ready to Get Started?

Whether you’re writing a speech, newsletter, social media post, or communications with your team, crafting great content is hard work and takes practice! If you’re ready to learn more about leveling up your content, check out AJ Harper’s Write a Must-Read or listen to her great episode of my Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast, where she talks more about using a reader first mindset and her other tips for creating compelling content.

At Manufacturing Greatness, Trevor Blondeel works with manufacturers to connect the top to the shop floor. If you’re ready to improve your own organization, contact Trevor to learn how Manufacturing Greatness can help you build stronger leaders and develop a dynamic, high-performing workplace.