Today I wanted to talk about how adopting a beginner’s mindset can make you a better copywriter, content writer, and marketer.
Now KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid)
We’ve all seen examples of tech writing – both online and offline – which are laden with jargon and acronyms and advanced subject matter, even though it’s intended for a novice audience.
There are a number of reasons why this happens, perhaps the writer was briefed incorrectly, perhaps the company misunderstood their market, maybe there was some sort of interdepartmental communication mess up. It happens.
But if a potential customer doesn’t fundamentally understand what’s on offer or what’s being said, they’re just going to switch off. Just another bounce in the Google Analytics account – another sales letter in the bin.
My Approach? Don’t Assume.
Unless I know where a reader is on the sales journey or I’m given explicit information about their level of knowledge, I never make assumptions about what people do or don’t know. Without that information to hand, I strip it back to the real basics. Heck, even with that information, I generally like to make accessibility a priority – unless the brief tells me not to, of course.
This is where you really need to get into the mind of a novice. Use empathy and research to really put yourself in a beginner’s shoes. You see, building knowledge is like building a house. You can’t slap a roof on and call it a day without starting with strong foundations and working your way up.
So, ask yourself – what did you first need to learn about your specialist subject to get you where you are today? What different novice-level topics started leading you down that path? And comparatively how far along that same journey are your clients?
Is there anything that clients and prospects commonly ask you that seems rudimentary to you, but leaves them scratching their heads? When it comes to the topic of your writing – what are your foundations? And even if you don’t have any hard and fast data on this, use creativity and empathy to fill those gaps.