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© 2016 LINDSEY MCCAFFREY. WRITER IN OTTAWA. WRITER. EDITOR. CONTENT STRATEGIST.

Stop Confusing Your Customers! How To Write Clear Online Content People Will Actually Understand (& Reward You For)

The following blog features part of my latest ebook, Word Crimes: Is Your Website Content Robbing Your Business of Potential Customers? To get your FREE ebook download, click here.

 

Research shows that the more you know about something, the less clearly you write about it.

 

Believe it: all too often, the smartest, savviest business people assume everyone can understand what’s going on in their heads.

 

And so, they write their content based on that assumption.

 

This would be known as a #CONTENTFAIL.

 

Yes, there is such a thing as being too close to your content—and getting so wrapped up in your own business that you no longer see things from an external perspective.

 

Writing in a "bubble" does nothing to endear yourself to your target consumers. 

 

Not to mention, it's disrespectful. 

 

All the more reason to be extra vigilant about ensuring clarity in your online content.

 

Here are two simple ways to do so.

 

Define, define, define (aka explain)!

 

Consider—like, really consider—who your written content is talking to.

 

If your target customers are a general audience, it’s highly possible they may not understand certain terms, jargon, acronyms or buzz terms.

 

Even if your audience is part of a specialized group (e.g., your business provides services to physicians), it’s wise not to make assumptions that everyone will “get” your content.  

 

Ultimately, if there is even a slight possibility your audience won’t understand certain things, make sure to define each word or term in the first instance on each page.

 

(As an alternative, you can define a word on one page of your
website, and then hyperlink to it any time the word is mentioned
elsewhere.)

 

Watch out for ambiguity

 

I saw a man on the street corner with binoculars.

 

This may sound like a simple statement—until you begin to unpack all its alternate meanings. Does it mean:

 

  • There was a man on the street corner, and I watched him with my binoculars?

  • There was a man on the street corner, who I saw from afar, and he had binoculars?

  • I was on a street corner, and I saw a man using binoculars?

 

Here's another statement to ponder: 

 

We specialize in ham, cheese and egg sandwiches.

 

Sounds delicious...but what does it mean, really?

 

  • Sandwiches that include all three ingredients?

  • Ham sandwiches + cheese sandwiches + egg sandwiches?

  • Ham sandwiches, PLUS cheese and egg sandwiches?

  • Ham in general...and cheese and egg sandwiches?
     

(As an aside, I tend to sometimes drive my clients slightly crazy with these sorts of questions, when I'm reviewing or editing their written content.)

 

Don’t make people question what you’re trying to say.

 

The objective is to be clear.

 

So if your content raises any red flags for potential confusion, rephrase it so the message is completely obvious.

 

Learn to write web content for your target audience...and get noticed!
 
Want to learn more about writing fabulous content that:

 

  • Converts visitors into customers?

  • Speaks to the hearts, minds and wallets of your target audience?

  • Gets your business noticed and respected online... all through the power of the written word?

 
Download your FREE copy of my ebook, Word Crimes, here!

"Freelance writer for hire" Lindsey McCaffrey is an award-winning writer, editor and content strategist for businesses and non-profit organizations. Learn more about Lindsey here. Or, contact her today to discuss your content needs!

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