When I was a journalist one of the things we were told to do is to keep it simple. In fact, the rule of thumb was to write at an 8th grade level. While in practice that may not always work, the idea is to avoid jargon and to take difficult concepts and make them simple.
As someone who wrote many articles relating to complex legal, business and healthcare issues, that often meant conducting a lot of research and then boiling down the concepts into understandable, bite-sized nuggets of information.
The same holds true for bloggers. Usually, bloggers are writing for customers and clients, not for their peers. Often, while doing research, I come upon other blogs that are so complex, and that use so much jargon, they are understandable only to other experts in that particular field. Just because a topic is complicated, it doesn’t mean you have to write your blog in a complicated way. In fact, it’s often harder and more time-consuming to break down complex subjects. However, I can assure you that your readers will appreciate it.
Many professionals (i.e. attorneys, accountants, doctors) who blog, attempt to show off how smart they are by using complicated words that intimidate their readers. For example, if you are an attorney, you don’t want your readers to have to pull out Black’s Law Dictionary to figure out what you are trying to tell them. If you must use complex legal terms, then follow up with an explanation of what they mean in plain English.
There are several ways you can simplify your blog. One of the more popular forms of blogging is the “listicle” – you know the ones that offer “five ways to promote your content” or “five quick tips for pitching reporters.”
Use simple words and keep the sentence structure simple. Stay away from run-on sentences and lengthy paragraphs. Remain focused on your subject; don’t meander from one topic to another. Read and re-read your blog and cut out unnecessary words.
Albert Einstein once said: "If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself." That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to dumb down your blog to a kindergarten level (unless they are your audience). How complicated you make your blog will depend on who your audience is. By understanding who you are writing for, you will be able to provide them with valuable information that will have them coming back for more.
Susan R. Miller is founder of Garton-Miller Media, a full-service, South Florida based public relations firm. Susan is a former journalist with more than 30 years of experience. She has two daughters, two golden retrievers and two cats, but just one guinea pig who is happy not to have to share his cage or his daily stash of veggies with anyone.
Garton-Miller Media is a full-service, South Florida-based public relations firm. Founder Susan R. Miller has 30 years of experience as a writer, journalist and PR professional.