The most important aspect of connecting with your audience through words is being clear... Because if you're not clear, your readers certainly won't be.

I was at a high-school band concert, and there was a box with "Cleaning Supplies" written on one side and "Lost and Found" written on another side... of the same box.

Is it meant for cleaning supplies or lost and found? If I have a lost and found item, is it safe to put in this box? If I put cleaning supplies in this box, will someone thing they're lost items?

It's not clear what this box is used for... and I bet it doesn't get used.

Same thing with your writing: if you try to serve more than one purpose with your writing, you'll just confuse your audience.

No matter what you're writing (self-help books, how-to, fiction, memoir, blog post), you must be clear. Here are six quick steps to go through EVERY time you get ready to write.

1. What's my purpose? Is it to inform, persuade, question, entertain? What are you trying to do with this piece?

2. Who is my audience? Who are you writing for, and the answer is NOT "Everyone"! And then answer these questions about your audience: What does my audience need to know? and What does my audience already know?

3. What is my voice? Voice is the personality of the writer peeking through the words. You have different writing voices for different kinds of writing. My writing voice for my articles is more formal and professional than my blog writing, which tends to be somewhat humorous and self-deprecating. Know what your voice is going in.

4. What tone is appropriate for this piece? Tone is the state of mind, so to speak, of a piece of writing. So, for example, if I'm writing a rant, the tone might be somewhat harsh and intense. If I'm writing about a soulful journey to Alaska, my tone is going to be more quiet, and awestruck.

5. What is my end result? What do you hope to accomplish with this piece? What do you want the reader to do after he or she finishes reading it?

6. How can I move the reader forward? If you're clear on your purpose and your end result, then give your reader a step at the end... to sign up for more information, to buy the next book in the series, to get a resource off the website...

That's exactly what I had to do when I wrote this article. I had to figure out my purpose (give information), think about who my audience was (you, more than likely an entrepreneur and business owner), what you needed to know (based on my research and expertise about the problems I see with my clients and their struggles with writing), and what you already know (which could be all across the board). My company philosophy and voice is one of creating safe (and sometimes fun) environments for people to become more comfortable with writing.

Author's Bio: 

Dawn Shuler, Content Creator Extraordinaire, helps entrepreneurs and authors convey their deep message into compelling words, whether it's marketing material or a book, as well as to create powerful content to increase their credibility, visibility, and profitability. Her soul purpose is to help entrepreneurs unleash their authentic selves into their businesses through their content. She created the Writing From Your Soul system to help business owners connect more powerfully, reach more people, and make a difference. Download the free, 13-step system at