Our ManoByte team hears it all the time, comments like:
- "My company is far too complicated to write blogs about."
- "No one other than people in our industry understand what we really do."
- “We’re too boring; no one would want to read about us.” (My personal favorite)
What these clients are truly saying is that they don’t know how to leverage inbound marketing effectively for their business, and instead of learning how to do it, they make excuses for why they aren’t. Please take no offense to this comment if that’s your business, I just know this to be true because we’ve watched clients from highly complex (“boring”) industries who are making quite an impact on their ROI with an inbound marketing strategy in place.
So now you are probably asking yourself, “Well then, how do we make our blogs informative while keeping them clear and easy to understand?” Well, you have to be careful, especially if you are well-versed in your industry, to not start writing long, confusing sentences that will isolate your readers before they have a chance to learn anything from you.
So before you start pounding the keyboard, take note of these tips:
Tip #1: Channel Your High School-Self
And no, I don’t mean bust out your old football or cheerleading uniform, I mean try to put yourself back into that ‘Intro to Writing’ course you took as a Sophomore. And while you might be thinking, “My high school-self is nothing like my ideal customer!” Hear me out first; in all reality most people who are the actual decision-makers for a company don’t need or want the material to be too complex.
Take this example: pretend that you are the IT Director for a mid-sized toy company and you are responsible for gathering purchasing information for a new phone system. Because of your education and experience with IT, you probably have a lot of information about the complexities of the services and products available. However, your boss probably doesn’t have that same vast knowledge. Because of this, the boss will need clear, easy-to-understand content that can help to make an educated business decision.
In a nutshell: Use simplified explanations of high-level information instead of overly sophisticated and confusing language.
Tip #2: Make Examples and Analogies Your New BFF
See what I did up there in Tip #1? I gave you an example of something that you could relate or picture happening, so you can identify with the information I was trying to present. Explaining targeted marketing and blogging can be complex, but I simplified it so you understand in a real-world scenario.
Additionally, analogies help to put complex items in terms your reader can understand. For example:
"Blogging is like jogging."
Although some people can't understand how other businesses can find time and resources to blog every day, it's much like jogging, you start a little at a time and before you know it, you do it every day!
In a nutshell: Examples drive home information and prepare your reader for more. Analogies help relate a reader to something they don't know or understand with something they can relate to.
Tip #4: Remember: Long Sentences Stink
Sentences need to form a complete thought. Sometimes, when we know a lot about something, those thoughts can get long and confusing. Fight this temptation. Blog content can be clear and concise without being bulky and confusing. To clarify this further, take another wonderful example:
Long, clunky sentence: "There are many bloggers producing content today who seem to have a natural ability to write well."
Short, precise sentence: "Many Bloggers today have a natural writing ability."
Interesting Fact About Sentence Length and Complexity: The average length of a sentence in the Harry Potter books is 12 words, whereas the average sentence length in Pride and Prejudice is 21 words. Just for kicks, how about we throw in the average of a peer-reviewed journal? Well, that’s 60 words per sentence. Whew! (Thanks to HubSpot and Countwordsworth for that interesting information!)
In a nutshell: Keep things short and sweet.
Tip #5: Find a Reader-Friendly Format
You know you did it, you skimmed through this blog post a little bit before you sat down to read the whole thing. You wanted to make sure it was worth your time before you committed. I get it, I’m not offended because I do it too. But what you might not know is that I created a format that I think (or hope) will ensure you went back to the top and read it through. I used bullets and numbering and indented sections so they caught your eye. I used white space that gave your eyes a break between information and my paragraphs are short so they are easy to read.
In a nutshell: Keep it interesting with colors, shapes and some white space.
The Highly-Anticipated Conclusion
If you take anything from this post, keep your writing as clear and focused so the reader can truly understand what you are saying. Test it out on trusted customers who have already purchased from you to ensure you aren’t talking over their head. Writing just to sound smart does nothing for your ROI, but providing valuable information your potential customers can gain insight from can truly transform your business.