Perspective: Think Like a Customer, Not the Client
Perspective is such an important part of writing, especially because it is relative. A child sees a giant beast where a cowboy sees a relatively small horse. As freelance content writers, especially writing for industries we have experience in, it’s very easy to forget that the reader doesn’t always have the same perspective as those in the industry. Let’s take a few minutes to discuss why maintaining perspective is so important as a writer.
First, let’s define perspective. Perspective, in its simplest form, is the sum of the reader’s knowledge and experience in the topic. A plumber, a homeowner, and a 5-year-old boy all have a different perspective on a toilet. The plumber could wax poetic about the benefits of a dual-flush toilet with an oval bowl while the homeowner can’t figure out how to fix it because the 5-year-old didn’t understand that stuffing it full of Legos wasn’t a good idea.
Perspective is different than point of view. Point of view refers to who is telling the story. You, me, us, them, he, she: these are all used to define who is telling the story and who they are, included or excluded from the action. Point of view can be impersonal, inclusive, or just telling my part of the story.
Who is Your Audience?
When you are preparing to start writing, you need to know who the piece is aimed at. Using the toilet example above, you’d write a completely different article on toilet repair for the average homeowner than you would for an industry publication aimed at professionals. This is because they have those different perspectives. Your client should know who you’re writing for, even if it’s as vague a description as homeowners, small business owners, industry professionals, or the general public.
Problems with Vague Perspective Identification
If your client isn’t able to give you a clear picture of whom the piece is being written for. then the situation can get rather sticky. Maybe you thought you were dealing with industry professionals and have written a piece incorporating the nuances of different sectors of the industry, common terminology, and personalities, just to find out that it was intended as an informative piece for the general public. The piece will at least need to be rewritten and you may or may not be able to resell the completed work. At worst, the client won’t work with you again because you didn’t “get it.” After all, there is a common misconception that freelance content writers have ESP and can read minds.
When you receive a new project, it should be relatively easy work to ask the client what the perspective of the audience is; if they can’t tell you, you may want to put the job on hold until they can. By doing a little more research at the beginning of a piece, you can avoid extensive edits, rewrites, and aggravation that can come from misunderstanding what your reader’s perspective is.
Cathleen V is a multi-talented writer with experience in various fields. She focuses on content, article, and blog writing for small business management, content optimization and marketing, arts businesses, crafts, agriculture, home improvement, food, nutrition, and natural health. She is a top 1% content writer out of over 22,000.