The best way to start writing for a new audience is by learning how to write for yourself. I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth repeating: if you’re used to writing for experts and academics, the path to writing for everyone else can be difficult.
But there are some ways in which you can make the transition easier on yourself and those who read what you write. Here are some of my favorite tips for making your work accessible and interesting to people without a background in your field:
|Understand your audience’s diverse knowledge levels.
|Simplify complex topics without sacrificing accuracy.
|Use clear and relatable examples to explain concepts.
|Avoid jargon and technical terms unfamiliar to your readers.
|Focus on creating engaging content that appeals to a broader audience.
|Adapt your writing style to be more accessible and reader-friendly.
|Tailor your content structure to accommodate different levels of expertise.
|Continuously seek feedback and refine your approach based on audience responses.
|Embrace a reader-centric mindset to effectively communicate with all readers.
Share Data, Analysis, And Conclusions In An Accessible Way
When you’re writing for experts, your audience knows what you’re talking about. They may not agree with you, but they know what your data means and what the conclusions are.
When writing for non-experts, however, it’s important to explain everything in plain language that anyone can understand. That way, readers will be able to grasp the story and make up their minds about whether or not it fits into their worldviews or daily lives.
Here are a few tips:
Explain what you did (e.g., “I collected data by surveying 1,000 people” or “I analyzed the results of 50 studies”). Why did it? (e.g., “to find out how many people believe X”). And what did you find? (e.g., “67% of Americans say that pets should be allowed at restaurants.”)
If there’s nothing too controversial here like whether cats are better than dogs then this should be easy enough! Just write everything down in simple English so anyone can understand it
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Don’t Assume Your Audience Is Familiar With Jargon Or Acronyms
When writing for experts, you can assume that your audience is familiar with acronyms and jargon. But when writing for everyone else, this isn’t the case.
For example, if you’re writing a blog post about your favorite new tool (a “content management system,” or CMS) and mention the term “log-in screens,” don’t assume everyone will understand what those are.
If they don’t know what log-in screens are because they’ve never used a CMS before or just not in a while then they’ll find themselves confused by what seems like an important detail.
Similarly, if you write an article about content marketing strategy and use the acronym CTA (for the call to action), then readers who don’t know what it means won’t be able to understand how CTAs work within the broader context of their business goals.
They might even think that “CTA” stands for something else entirely! And if there’s any confusion at all about anything related to marketing strategy on any level even just one thing it could throw off everything else in your whole piece of writing!
Avoid Using Too Much Technical Language
When you’re writing for experts, you can get away with using a lot of technical languages. That’s because most people in your target audience are also experts in their fields and have a pretty good grasp of the terminology used by their colleagues.
But when you write for everyone else and especially when you want to appeal to the wider population you need to avoid using any words that might be unfamiliar or confusing to someone who isn’t an expert in your field (or even just outside of it).
People who aren’t fluent in the language of your industry or niche may be able to understand certain concept-related terms if they’ve been around long enough, but they won’t necessarily understand every single word that comes up along the way.
If someone is reading something about cars and there’s mention of “cylinders,” they’re probably going to think “cylinders” mean something having nothing at all to do with cars (like maybe bottles), rather than realizing cylinders are an automotive term referring specifically engines!
The bottom line: Keep things simple!
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Don’t assume everyone understands your work
When you announce your ideas to the world, don’t assume that everyone around you is a genius who understands what you’re working on.
This might sound obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of sharing and forget that not everyone has all the context or background knowledge that you do.
This can lead to insider-speak, which is jargon or overly complicated language used among colleagues who already understand what each other is talking about.
In this case, use simple words when explaining something new or unfamiliar to readers: “We found out” rather than “We ascertained” or “The result was,” rather than “Our findings suggest” Try thinking through how someone else might approach your work would they know what terms like “validation” mean? Would they want more explanation?
Be direct but friendly in explaining things; don’t take shortcuts by assuming your audience knows what you’re talking about. And if there’s anything important left unsaid (i.e., backstory), make sure it gets said before jumping to conclusions!
Define Everything As If You Were Writing For Someone Who Knows Nothing About Your Field
When you’re writing for experts, your goal is to get the reader to understand exactly what you know. But when you write for someone who doesn’t have this knowledge yet, all of those words become confusing and muddy-sounding babble which means they won’t be able to process the information as easily.
Instead of trying to explain every concept in detail, try taking a step back and defining everything as if they were completely new people: “I am going to explain this in simple terms that everyone can understand.”
Or: “Here are some examples of why this idea works.” Or: “This analogy makes sense because it’s similar but different from other analogies I’ve seen before (and could be applied elsewhere).”
Know Your Audience
This is one of the most important steps in writing for everyone. Knowing your audience ensures that you’re writing with them in mind and not just yourself. If you’re writing a piece on business success, it’s important to know what their needs are and if they need help in any area, then offer solutions!
If you’re writing about something technical like machine learning or software development, make sure your target audience has the necessary background knowledge so that they can understand what it is that you’re trying to say.
If the reader doesn’t have this knowledge, then explain why they should care about this topic before moving forward with how-to steps or other concrete ideas on how to get started doing whatever it is that interests them most about your subject matter (like learning Python).
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In your writing, you may be tempted to use jargon and insider-speak that sounds like something only other experts would understand.
You might, for example, use the word “thesis” when it would be better to say “the main idea of a document” or share an article with colleagues that begins, “Let’s turn our attention now to the formalist literary criticism movement of the early 20th century.”
But one way to cut through this kind of language is by avoiding insider-speak altogether. Instead of sharing your thoughts in a way that only appeals to people who are already familiar with them (and could even alienate those who aren’t),
Try using plain language and simple words that everyone can understand and if necessary, explain what each technical term means before using it again later on in your article or book. This makes things easier for all readers, not just experts!
Explain Everything You’re Working On
If you’re writing a blog post or a paper, make sure to explain everything you’re working on. Explain what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what you expect to happen. You can also share your results and analysis in a thoughtful, accessible way.
If there are any assumptions that people might not know about the background of your work (e.g., “I’m writing this paper because I want to understand how people would behave under these circumstances”), mention them up front so readers don’t get confused later on.
People who are not experts in the field or area of research may be learning about it for the first time through your writing so imagine that they have no idea what’s going on! Try explaining everything as if they were reading an essay written by someone else who has no background in their field or area of research
Be Direct But Friendly In Explaining Things
Your style should be direct, but avoid being condescending. You should use plain language, but don’t be boring.
You might hear that a lot of people will read your content if you write in a conversational tone and use contractions. But this isn’t always the case; sometimes, you need to give directions or instructions in a straightforward manner that doesn’t rely on slang or overly casual language.
For example: “Please place your golfing shoes directly under your bed so that they are easy to find when you want them after work tomorrow morning before we go out for drinks with clients who could become very important customers for us if we do well during this meeting! Thanks! :)” Or maybe something like “Remember to bring an umbrella!”
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Avoid Taking Shortcuts In The Explanation Of Your Work Or Ideas
There’s a common trap that we all fall into: We assume that just because the people we are writing for are experts in their fields, they will automatically know what we’re talking about. But this is rarely the case.
It’s important not to take shortcuts or use jargon in explaining your work or ideas because even if you think everyone knows what you’re talking about, your audience will still need some explanation to understand why they should care and how they can benefit from reading it.
So how do you avoid taking these shortcuts? Write clear sentences with concise language and explain everything you’re working on don’t jump to the conclusion, but rather guide your reader through the problem and solution by providing context throughout each section of your paper so there are no unanswered questions left hanging at any point during the process.
Don’t Jump To The End Of The Story Until You’ve Given The Reader Some Context For What’s Happening
When you’re writing for experts, it’s easy to assume that the reader has an intimate understanding of your topic. But when writing for a general audience, this is rarely the case. You need to give readers some context for what’s happening in your story before getting into the details.
In most cases, it’s best not to jump straight into the story with no setup especially if you’ve written about similar topics in the past.
If you do this repeatedly without explaining anything, readers will quickly start wondering why they should invest time reading something when they don’t understand basic concepts or have any background information on what they’re reading about.
Write Clear Sentences That Avoid Excessive Use Of Punctuation Marks
There are many ways to use punctuation marks. Some are more useful than others, so let’s take a look at some of the most common punctuation marks writers should use in their writing:
Use commas after each item listed in a series (but not before). For example, I love ice cream, bananas, and chocolate chip cookies.
Use colons to introduce lists or clauses that contain long explanations that begin with conjunctions like therefore or moreover (but not sometimes). For example, The dog was dirty; it had burrs on its fur, and mud-caked into its paws. The cat was hissing at me; it didn’t seem happy about my visit.
Use semicolons when you want to connect two independent clauses without using conjunction while still providing some sort of connection between them (a semicolon takes the place of “and” or “but”). For example, I like cake; however, I also like pie. It’s raining outside; we should stay inside today instead of going hiking as planned!
Technical writing examples hold a hidden power in simplifying complex concepts. Dive into the world of technical communication and discover the insights in the hidden power of technical writing examples that can elevate your writing skills.
New Audiences Can Benefit From Experts’ Work
If you’re an expert in a particular field, then your work can be useful to new audiences. That’s because experts have a wealth of knowledge about the details and quirks of their fields. New audiences can benefit from this knowledge as they learn more about these subjects, but it can also be valuable to them even if they don’t want to become experts themselves.
Here are some examples:
Your blog could explain these concepts in plain English so readers (who may or may not be programmers) gain new insights into how computers work internally at a fundamental level.
Similarly, if you’re an economist who specializes in financial markets, then your articles on how stock prices fluctuate will be useful for people who aren’t familiar with financial jargon like “volatility” or “beta coefficients.” Again, these pieces could explain core concepts without requiring any specialized technical knowledge from readers.
The best way to reach out to new audiences is by continuing to produce quality work. If you can do that, and keep it interesting for your existing readers, then you’ll have no problem reaching these new ones.
Here are some additional resources that can provide further insights into transitioning your writing career and improving your skills:
Transition from a Writer to an Editor: A 3-Step Framework Short Description: Explore a comprehensive framework to smoothly transition from being a writer to an editor, enhancing your understanding of both roles.
From English Teacher to Technical Writer: A Career Shift Short Description: Discover how an English teacher successfully shifted careers to become a technical writer, and gain insights into the journey.
Common Transition Terms Used in Academic Papers Short Description: Enhance your academic writing skills by exploring common transition terms that improve the flow and coherence of your papers.
How can I transition from being a writer to an editor effectively?
Transitioning from a writer to an editor involves understanding the nuances of both roles. Focus on developing a comprehensive framework that balances your writing skills with the attention to detail required for editing.
What insights can I gain from an English teacher’s transition to a technical writer?
Learning from an English teacher’s journey to becoming a technical writer can offer valuable lessons in adapting skills, understanding industry-specific writing, and successfully navigating a career shift.
What are transition terms, and how do they improve academic papers?
Transition terms are words or phrases that help connect ideas and create a smooth flow within academic papers. By incorporating these terms, you can enhance the coherence and readability of your work.
How can I make my transition into real estate writing more seamless?
To transition into real estate writing smoothly, focus on mastering the basics of the real estate industry, improving your copywriting skills, and understanding the specific needs of your target audience.
What role do transition terms play in improving the quality of technical writing?
Transition terms are equally valuable in technical writing, as they help structure information, guide readers through complex concepts, and ensure the clarity and logical flow of technical documents.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.