To save time and to help you focus before you start writing your persuasive communication try this little exercise to determine the five Ws of your message. It will save time and help you develop a better finished product. It goes back to the basics of journalism Who, What, Why, Where and When. The same planning tool will help you in preparing good persuasive communications. Try following the outline below.

Who?

Who is the recipient of your message or your audience? Who is involved? Who would benefit? How would they benefit?

What?

What is the message, concern, product or service that you want to tell them about? What action do you want them to take? What is the benefit to them?

Why?

Why is this important to you ...but more importantly why should it be important to the recipient of your message? Define their value in acting or accepting the message. In other words what is in it for them?

Where?

Where will following your advice take them? Where can they obtain this product or service? Determine all the issues surrounding the question of where? Where will this product or service take them in their life?

When?

When will the product or service be available? When will they need to take action? When can they expect a benefit from this action?

There is a theme here!

You might have noticed that each of the five Ws should ask about the value or benefit to the recipient of the message. While something may be important to you, you won't convince someone to follow your advice or do what you want them to do unless you can show or tell them how it will benefit them or those they care about or have a concern for. Persuasive messages have to incite an emotion.