Questions to ask before writing an article

  • Can you describe your audience? I used to ask the question in terms of types of reader - manager, tester, team lead, etc. - nowadays I might ask the author to describe a typical reader as a person rather than a role (as a persona, if you will).

  • When a reader finishes your article, she should know more. But that’s not enough. Knowledge has to be put into practice. How will she do that? Will she know the first step to take? What, in the first few months after publication, do you want 1000 of your readers to have accomplished?

  • When she puts your idea into practice, what beginner mistakes will the reader make?

  • In what situations is your advice the wrong advice? When does your favorite tool/method/technique not apply? (”When people aren’t trained well enough” or “when there’s insufficient management support” almost always mean you haven’t thought things through well enough: there must be cases where your pet idea would be bad advice even for the best trained, best supported people.)

  • How is your article different than the other hundred articles on the same topic?

See also hints for revising and this extra hint.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.