What Viewpoint Should You Be Writing To?

Who is your audience? Do you ask that question before you create your content or craft your sales pitch? You may take a subject, and depending on who you are trying to communicate to, the substance may have to be very different.

For instance, if you work in the tech industry you may be able to sit down and talk to another techie about all the ins-and-outs of programming, or about what the best hardware to use is. But when you have to sit down with someone who desires the functionality a piece of equipment can provide them with, but in no way are going to be able to understand whatever jargon it is natural for you to speak to a colleague in, you have to adjust how you talk about the subject. There may be some satisfaction in proving how much more you know about something, but it isn’t going to be useful in terms of communicating to a novice in the field, or to someone from a different field entirely.

A lot of websites miss the mark on this, and so does a lot of marketing. If you are purely pitching products or services within an industry, then you can expect a certain amount of understanding on the part of your audience, but if you are business-to-customer you have to drop the ceiling of expectancy on how much technical information you can comfortably use. If you are a company that is B2B and B2C you are perhaps going to want to shoot for some sort of compromise in terms of general language versus specific technical data.

Don’t Think Of It As Dumbing Down, Think Of It As Creating Understanding

One of the key things to being an expert that some experts are not totally comfortable with, is talking to non-experts. Some times people do not need to know everything that is involved in a process, they just need to know that you can solve the problem that they have with the product or service that you provide. Understanding how something will help often extends only to the need to know that it works and answers a question that the business owner or customer needs answered.

Do you need to know how your i-phone works in order to know that you want one? No. Do you have to understand all the component parts of your HVAC system to know that it helps keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter? No.

Some copy is muddied because it uses technical terms that only an industry insider is going to understand. Keeping it simple and providing only necessary information is not an obstacle to conveying that you have expertise in something, but being overly complicated may lose some people who are actually interested in what you have to offer.

If you survey both beforehand and after something is created you will start to gauge whether or not you are communicating or whether you are losing people. Technical writing of course has its place, but just because you deal in technical subjects, it does not mean that this should be the first communication you put out there in the world.