Our writers offer insight into how to craft content that sings.
Why Writers Must be Mind Readers
Writers must be mind readers. They must understand what their audience knows — or more importantly does not know — to get a message across.
Businesses frequently hire us to revise website or marketing content that they say isn’t hitting the mark. They don’t understand why. After all, the text enumerates the many benefits their products offer.
But the problem is often immediately apparent to us. The business failed to see inside the brain of the reader, an exercise that would have revealed what terms and concepts require translation.
This shortcoming is most obvious in energy pieces written for the mass market. Electric industry insiders consider terms like “load” as commonplace; householders may think they’re talking about laundry.
Even business-to-business blogs, articles and reports — those meant for energy insiders — often lose their readers by using too much industry-speak.
What? Don’t energy insiders all speak the same language? Doesn’t everyone understand what’s meant by FOB Newcastle, VDER and TOU rates? What’s to translate?
It turns out the energy industry is more a continent than a country. The liquid fuels and power industries, for example, are France and England, side-by-side but speaking different languages. So don’t expect the oil executive to understand 4CP, or the wind farm operator to know the difference between Baltic Clean and Baltic Dirty.
Good speakers read the room before addressing an audience. Energy writers must do the same. And they must be aware that it’s a big room with a lot of people who know little about each others’ jobs.
Also be aware that the energy industry is producing new terms all the time, especially in this heady period of innovation. We’re all playing catch up as the industry coins new phrases and regulators formulate new policies to guide the changes. For example, before the rise of distributed energy (solar, energy storage, microgrids and the like), we had no New York REV — the state’s policy to encourage this kind of energy.
Good speakers read the room before addressing an audience. Energy writers must do the same. And they must be aware that it’s a big room with a lot of people who know little about each others’ jobs. Understanding who-knows-what not only prevents confusion, but also spares you the embarrassment of speaking down to your audience.
Reading an audience takes practice. It takes even more practice to then effectively translate terms and concepts. Let us know if we can help you. You’re busy and energy writing probably isn’t your core area of expertise. It’s ours and we’d love to work with you.