Writing is the core of what I do. I enjoy it, yes, but it truly is an art. I lump it under artist, along with painter, photographer, sculptor, musician, and anything that defines art.

And while I focus on brand stories for businesses and authors, it is always a good idea to go back to the basics and revisit the roots of our creativity. As we continue to practice our art, we learn more about our own craft and we only get better. A good writer, in fact, accepts editing suggestions and works to shape the stories into something captivating.

Over the next few weeks, I will be revisiting the basics of writing to help you shape your communications and writing abilities to improve and be effective communicators. After all, the way we communicate is through our writing, and we want our words to be clear and succinct.

This week’s article’s focus is on asking questions to improve our communications. Asking questions helps us understand our subject better. When we know what we need to talk or write about, our description is unmistakable and understandable to others.

What are some basic questions we should ask to know our subject? What are the deeper questions we need answers to to highlight key elements for our audience? Find out more below…

This article’s questions are taken from “Simple Questionnaire Outline: 17 Questions to ask for specific stories, events and marketing content” available through the Store.

Article suggestions are from my 2-Day VIP Writing Focus Workshop, a live training to jumpstart and inspire in-house writers and communicators with targeted materials.


Why ask questions to know your subject?

Asking questions to understand our subject and get us at its heart helps us in our research. We write a thorough article when we have the research to back up the content. And you improve the story’s quality.

As a journalist, I collect my research, interviews, and other background information before I begin to write a word. Often the information we collect will help us shape the theme and direction we want to navigate the story. Writing the story without the key information is like trying to put a 1,000-piece puzzle together without having the picture to guide us.

The background information makes the writing process smooth. The less time you must stop and search for information and cross-check the limited data you have, the quicker you can create your outline and write your piece.


Questions to ask to flesh out your article

When you hunt for your answers, seek out others in your organization to gather first-person accounts and various points of view. Dig through archives. Check reputable sources, such as academic and vetted references. And cross-check when necessary.

One caveat: be careful when reviewing newspaper articles as these are not accurate sources, no matter how esteemed the medium might be.

What questions should you ask to effectively write and communicate your event, program, or product?

Here are six to consider:

(1) What is the event/program/product/story? Can you give specifics?

(2) Who is involved? Are you also partnering with other organizations within the community?

(3) Why is it important? Why should people pay attention?

(4) What are its benefits?

(5) How does it tie into your mission and vision?

(6) Who is your target audience for this story?

Remember: while you want the basics to your story, go deeper with its meaning and how it will benefit your audience. They want to know: what’s in it for them?

Your writing can be creative and visual if you begin your outline by asking the right questions.

Asking questions helps us understand our subject better. When we know what we need to talk or write about, our communications are unmistakable and understandable to others. Our goal is to provide clarity with our storytelling. While we ask basic questions, such as who, what, when, where, why, and how, we need to ask deeper questions to highlight key elements for our audience.

(Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)

My 2-Day VIP Writing Focus Workshop will help you improve your writing skills. Designed for busy staff — or individuals — who desire to write better and create engagement. Need more focused personal attention? Contact me for one-on-one coaching to improve your writing skills.