The ever-fascinating Copyblogger discusses the use of language in copywriting in Five Ways to Persuade Like a Silver-Tongued Trial Lawyer. After I supported the consensus the other day that most press releases are rubbish, this is a nice companion piece.
Copyblogger says that lawyers have to understand how to make their language accessible to the "man on the street" when addressing juries. But although this is an astute observation, the lesson for us all is to write with the end-user in mind. That may mean making our writing more technical at times.
I would argue that despite the preponderance of performance figures in technical press releases, to make the language more attractive to end users, most writers need less explanation, not more. No buyer of programmable controllers, spectrophotometers or acoustic cladding wants to be told what those things are, and yet that's exactly what most press releases lapse into at the first opportunity.