Speaker: Whose voice is narrating the essay? This is important, because it is essential in conveying the perspective to your audience. Is your essay written in first person, or from your point of view? Or, is the story an account from another character? The speaker is essential in the meaning of the essay.
Occasion: Where did this essay take place? Contextual clues are important in shaping the mental picture in your reader's mind. You should describe the situation in detail, including the physical and emotional state, i.e., the surroundings, emotions, or even the cultural environment if it applies.
Audience: Who are you trying to reach? This is as simple as thinking about it in these terms: would you write a children's book for adults ages 18-34? Of course not. Tailor your writing to fit your readers.
Purpose: The purpose is decided in your theme of the essay. Why are you writing this piece, and what is your intention? Are you trying to make the reader feel a certain emotion by the end of your essay, or are you trying to convey an idea in order to convince the reader to take action?
Subject: This is the topic of the essay, and can be either broad or narrow in scope. The subject alerts the reader of the content in the essay, such as "tips for college students studying abroad". This should be able to be discerned in the beginning of the piece within the first few phrases.
Tone: This is the writer's sound in the piece. Is the author witty, or literal and scientific in their words? This is the attitude of the essay, and the reader can get a "feel" for the message through the writer's colloquialisms, descriptions, slang, or other types of diction. The tone helps to paint the picture in the reader's mind and contributes to the overall meaning of the essay.
When you write your essay, it is helpful to write in a mini outline SOAPSTONE before you begin. Doing so will help you retain focus when writing and help to not leave anything out. Then, you know you have the start to a "clean" piece of writing that will effectively get your message across to your audience!