Write for Your Audience and Your Readers Will Thank You

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Sometimes it’s hard to remember to write for your audience. Industry jargon and technical language just becomes part of your everyday speech. But it’s not the best way to talk to your audience when you’re building web pages.

Some website owners use language their audience finds complicated, or produce pages that make sense to them, but that don’t fully consider user intent and expectation.

Your audience is on your site looking for answers. They don’t want to have to “translate” your text into terms they can understand. Worse yet, if they don’t find the information they came for, they’ll probably leave and get it elsewhere.

So, what answers does your reader want or need? Why is she on your site?

You need to know what your reader wants – why she’s on the page and, more broadly, your site.

For example, if she searches “Common Questions after a Head Injury,” she probably wants answers too. So make sure you have a list of answers along with those questions. We’ve come across pages with similar titles that were just lists of questions with no answers. If your reader expects answers and only gets questions, chances are she’ll leave and won’t be returning.

It might sound basic, but it’s something that a lot of people overlook when writing content. Something as simple as jotting down a list of questions your audience probably has can guide you as you produce content for a page.

Here’s another example: If you’re writing a page about the personal injury claims process, think of the topic from your readers’ perspective, not yours as a lawyer. Some information about the technical legal maneuvers that you will handle might be useful, but a broader description of the process from the claimant’s point of view is probably more so. After all, the reader is probably wondering, “What do I do now? How long will this process last? What steps do I have to take?”

And be sure your audience can understand what you’re telling them. Answers to the questions about brain injuries, for example, aren’t worth much to your audience if only doctors can understand them.

Word Choice Matters: Write for Your Audience

Your pages don’t need to sound like a legal document or a medical study that few outside of the industry can understand. After years of higher education and/or experience, this can be a hard concept for some professionals to grasp. But remember – it all comes down to clarity.

For example, the technical term for a pinched nerve is “cervical radiculopathy.” You can surely write “cervical radiculopathy,” but make sure you explain what it is in language your readers can understand. If you describe it as a pinched nerve and explain the mechanics of how it occurs, it will be more helpful to a lay audience looking for answers.

If you’re wondering which term to use, you can use SEMrush or a similar service to see which has a higher volume of searches.

Be clear and concise and your readers will thank you for it. To make sure your writing is clear, concise, and organized, check out last week’s post on organizing your writing, and come back next week to read about using apostrophes correctly. As always, if you need help writing, call us: 888-521-3880.