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Guest Blog Posts: Know Your Audience!

Because this is a popular blog, I get requests several times each week from someone wanting to write a guest blog post for Business Writing blog.

As a reader of this blog, you know it is always about some aspect of business writing: grammar, punctuation, usage, tone, bullet points, subject lines, email style, etc. Yet the people who write to me about doing a guest blog post tell me they are experts in interior decoration, teacher tenure in higher education, and the European debt crisis.

Know your audience! This rule is true whether you are writing blog posts, thank-you notes, cover letters, procedures, books, articles, press releases, or tweets.

When we do not think about our audience, we waste our time and theirs.

Do you get messages from people who don't seem to know you as a reader? Feel free to complain here.

Syntax Training

Posted by Lynn Gaertner Johnson
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.

8 comments on “Guest Blog Posts: Know Your Audience!”

  • You have hit on a hot topic in the writer/blogging world, Lynn. I’ve written a few posts on Guest Posts. It guarantees passionate responses.

    I have Guest Post guidelines, but it does not stop the flood of requests to my email account.

    Many are spammy requests, looking for links. They could care less about your blog or your readers.

    Some are from managers of multiple blogs who convince blog owners to pay the managers to promote the owners’ blogs.

    It has gotten to the point where some bloggers have stopped accepting guest posts. I rarely accept posts from individuals I don’t know.

    I could go on, but I’ll stop my rant. Like I said, I’ve had a few rants on the topic on my own blog. 🙂

    It’s sad that what should be a win-win has turned into fodder for more spam.

  • Lynn, your blog post title is my motto restated. “Who do you think you’re talking to?” is the first question to ask before beginning any communication. If you really know the answer, and truly understand your audience and what they want, need and care about, you are well on your way.

    Thanks for shedding light on this crucial topic.


  • Lynn, I couldn’t agree more. I receive requests for posts that have nothing to do with my brand. Also, it’s painful when I have to reject a post after accepting the request because the post is so badly written.

  • People come to blog to get their desire information and most of them belong to any business or any blog. If I think something going well or not I can put my opinion with my identity as everyone does. I got many information regarding business writing and after going through your blog I would love have some more studies for editing and proper business contents with no mistake.

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