The language we use when we write helps connect with our target audience. Connection is important to show empathy and establish trust with the reader.
When writing, use language that will connect with your target audience but avoid jargon that will prevent non-experts from gaining value from your writing. Hoo-wee! That’s tricky 😬
To nail this writing principle, you need two things: a deep understanding of who you’re writing for, and domain knowledge.
An example I encountered recently when editing a piece about digital security and zero trust architecture was the word “posture”. Not a word you often see in technical content writing. My first thought was to suggest changing it to “security position” or “approach to security”. Posture - what an odd word choice by the author! But I knew this author rarely made odd choices so I looked up the phrase “security posture” and lo, it is indeed A Thing. The author demonstrated their domain knowledge and I learned something in the process.
“Security posture” was the exact phrase we needed to connect to this audience, and my changing or removing it would have wasted an opportunity to establish credibility. Indeed, the absence of this word would have undermined the piece.
Careful word choice lets you speak directly to your reader, established credibility, and helps your message land.
Listen to me and my colleagues chat more about this writing principle in the CNECT episode of the OSP podcast.
Editing codes are semantic short codes that communicate the rationale behind a suggested edit based on a specific writing guideline.
Image credits: Brain image by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash.