Talking to our audience like people

When we write material for our websites, we need to address all levels of reader knowledge, assuming potential customers may have similarly differing levels. However, when writing more targeted communications, knowing who the recipients are, it’s important to ensure we write at an appropriate level.

Sounds obvious right? Yet how often have you sat in a seminar, bored while the presenter goes over concepts you learned in your first month in the industry? That might be a necessary imposition if others in the audience didn’t know this stuff, but you look around and realise that they’re all as experienced as you are.

On a personal level, there’s really no excuse. But how many promotional emails do you get that haven’t been targeted to your knowledge and start off by explaining the boring basics? Too many.

Returning to the website, while we need to address all levels of reader knowledge, we don’t need to do that in a single article. That’s what hyperlinking is for. One article can cover the basics, then subsequent articles can assume this knowledge, but link to it at the start.

We need to talk to our audience as if we know them – which we probably do.