A long time ago, in a different life before I became a professional copy and content writer…
I used to work in anaesthetics and surgery.
When I was still a student, one of the Consultant Anaesthetists told me that medicine is simple if you apply the KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid.
When you keep things simple, things will go well, but…
it’s when you try to be clever and run before you can walk that things can, and do, go wrong.
It’s a sound motto that can be applied to most things in life, and particularly writing.
How many times have you visited a website and the writer seems to have searched for every clever sounding word in their thesaurus?
What should have been straightforward, easy to read text has become this literary jungle of wordplay and similes, and you’re often left wondering… what have I just read?
Because when you focus too much on making the words look good, you lose the focus you should have – on the message you want your readers to take away with them.
Whatever the purpose of the writing, you need to be asking yourself these questions.
- Who are you talking to? Your target audience determines how you’re going to write.
- What are you trying to tell them? Keep the message as easy to understand as possible.
- Why? What is your goal from this piece of writing? Client engagement, increased sales, newsletter sign ups?
- When are your audience going to read it? Or, when you want them to complete your call to action by?
- Where are they going to be reading it? A blog is going to be written differently than a newspaper advert, for example.
How are you going to achieve all of that?
Try establishing what your 5 W’s are before you sit down to write and you’ll find it becomes a lot easier.
Your target audience really determines how you’re going to write.
If your product or service is particularly aimed at accountants, you can get away with sneaking some industry jargon in there.
If you are selling tents aimed at families then you want to keep the language easy to understand and accessible for a much wider group of people.
There’s nothing worse than reading something packed full of terminology that you have to open Google just to research what it means.
If you drive potential customers away from your website, they’re unlikely to come back.
So the next time you write something for your business, make sure you keep it simple and your audience interested