If you write for your clients, read this
Do these 3 things before you publish that brochure, web copy or business letter
When you write for your clients, it’s sometimes hard to see the document from their point of view. You’re busy, you think what you’re writing is well explained and, anyway, no-one’s complained about the material you’ve given them, so all must be well. Sadly, that may not be the case. Most clients won’t admit when they don’t understand something and will either pretend they do or use other sources of information to find the answers they’re after…patients consulting Doctor Google, anyone?
So, before you hit ‘publish’ on that brochure, email or business letter, do these three things:
- Limit jargon.
- Use images
- Define your document’s purpose
Jargon is fine when you’re talking to other experts; it’s actually a great ‘shorthand’ for them, but most people won’t understand it, so check you’re not using it excessively.
One way to think about the technical terms you’re using is to ask yourself if a twelve-year-old would know the term or be able to work out its meaning in context. If you were in the third year of your undergraduate degree when you first came across the word, chances are most of your clients are not familiar with it. In that case, you may need to use simpler terms when you write for your clients.
Another way to make jargon understandable is to give a definition of the word the first time you use it. That way, if your clients don’t know or forget what it means, they can go back and read the definition.
When you use images to support your words, the result is greater understanding. An image of a clogged artery along with a definition of atherosclerosis is more effective than just the word by itself. Similarly, an image of a window or door is going to make more sense than ‘fenestration.’
Define your document’s purpose
When you think about the reason for the document, writing for your clients becomes easier. Are you giving general information about your industry? Are you detailing what you will deliver? Are you asking for a sale? Do you want them to book a consultation?
Knowing what you want the reader to do after they read the document will help you stay on track.
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