Communication remains a major problem for techies when it comes to expressing information to non-tech readers. Blogging is no exception to it. In my career, I often encounter great technocrats who are deemed subject matter experts but fail to express their domain knowledge. The reason behind this phenomenon is their limited ability to reach out to common people.
Generally, they have a systematic mind that understands functional aspects concerning ‘techniques’. Learning and mastering such techniques takes considerable time. Adding to it, the creativity in these folks doesn’t translate to literary expressions most of the time. For a person totally unaware of their fields, explanations turn rampantly frenzy.
Market Insights: Almost half of the people (47%) refer to three/five blogs before contacting a sales team. (source: HubSpot)
To put things in plain, consider the following situation: You have been living in New York City since your childhood. On an odd day, you get to work with a client from Tanzania and visit them. While on a Safari, you get lost in the Nyiri desert and don’t know which direction to go. Even if you come across a localite, you won’t understand Swahili. You’ll need a map to get out of the situation. A map is an understandable piece of information that is functional enough to work instantly. Tech bloggers end up sounding like the Swahili speaking expert local guides. So, how do you communicate effectively to every individual reading your tech blog post?
Dive in deeper to unleash the secrets of technical blogging meant for the consumption of non-technical masses.
Problems for techies when it comes to blogging
Recently, I came across a study that discusses how the brain of a creative person functions as compared to their analytical counterparts. Crossing the line between an imaginative and a critical brain isn’t an easy job but you can use a few hacks to express your opinions effectively. For example, you shall understand how the mind of your target audience functions. This includes the reaction to data, grasping power, reaction to stimulants, and approach to concepts in general. I will list down the usual problems faced by the blogging community below.
Do you observe these shortcomings?
- They are unable to discuss subjects without technical terms.
- Fail to express the basics of concerned subjects in layman terms.
- Tech bloggers over emphasize on technology. Visitors come to get their problems solved. Beyond a certain level, they won’t bother to know anything about your invention/content if it works for them.
- Unable to illustrate functionalities in real life scenarios.
- Also, they don’t narrate the user’s point of view in both scenarios- with and without the product/service.
- These people don’t create a compelling copy for the end-user demographics. They could be managers, business owners, C-suite executives, or passive explorers.
- Most importantly, they seldom create an experience for their readers. Readers don’t want to put effort into our work. They want ready-to-consume information instantly.
Tips and tricks to be a great content creator for all audience groups
There is no set of principles to blogging as the topics, targeted onlookers, intention to post articles, and SEO dynamics aren’t carved on a stone. Naturally, you need to analyze these factors before you hop onto a conclusion for your copy’s idea. Well, I recommend you to stick by some basic principles as they serve most purposes of an ideal tech copy. They are equally good for readers of all segments. They are all based on the classic military ideology of KISS- Keep It Simple, Stupid. Have a look at them below.
1. Use easy-going language: Be a Roman while in Rome
Write to sell, pursue, and convert. No matter if you are discussing quantum computing or a breakthrough in oceanic minerals extraction, don’t outsmart your readers’ perception. In most cases, the person who’s going to make the decision is a senior-level manager, a talented businessman who isn’t a technocrat or an accounting manager. Of course, they have deep enough pockets, but if the information isn’t consumable upfront, they won’t take the risk. I have seen technical personnel finding a ‘readable’ piece of information for their superiors and not for personal consumption.
Therefore, try to use easy-going language throughout the text. You shall always explain all the technical terms as far as possible. This is important because the general mass isn’t skilled in your field and doesn’t intend to directly use your product/service. For instance, if you are selling an IoT home system, focus on how the system functions by using the common surroundings instead of a sensor-actuator network. I always like to describe the benefits and problems solved as a major portion of the article. This goes well with both technical and non-technical masses as none of the two need to learn from scratch.
2. Draw analogies, give examples and use end results to appeal
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”- Leonardo da Vinci
Did you notice the NYC-Tanzania example in the introduction? That is exactly how you make things simple for everyone. You can always complicate things, but maintaining a minimalist explanation is the goal. One of the major drivers of success for AK 47 was its simple design. It was built using only 19 moving parts and went on to become the most successful assault rifle, a title it holds even today. Every fifth firearm is a Kalashnikov and three out of four Kalashnikovs is an AK 47.
This takes me to another tip: draw analogies. I used this gun to explain my point by drawing an analogy between less complexity and better results. This is a very effective method and it works like a charm. You just need to strike the right chords. The end result here is the grand success as a firearm which appeals directly.
3. Tweak your content structure for effortless reading and add more images
Longer paragraphs are never appreciated by people and search engines too, don’t like them. Distribute your long paragraphs into smaller three or four chunks to make your content look more approachable. You will notice one thing in common for all the great technical blogs: Listicles, tabulated data, and extensive use of images. I suggest you make use of listicles in place of elaborate paragraphs when discussing multiple features/benefits.
Messing up with long texts is also not advisable to make use of tables to display such content. Both of these are also considered as SEO best practices and they help visitors to focus on what they want. They say that one image expresses ideas worth a thousand words. Putting videos and images creates a strong visual experience that is acclaimed by most people irrespective of whether creative or analytical.
4. Add statistics and give feedback that looks like a product review
Well, how do you convince your visitors with two blog posts published every second? In content writing, numbers speak higher than opinions. Therefore, curate enough statistical information to back your claims. This reduces the efforts required to convince as success is better demonstrated by facts and figures. Usually, tech bloggers are expected to ‘review’ information instead of merely displaying it.
There is a huge difference between the two: You can display paintings on a wall but need a curator to tell you how that painting ended up there. This person reviews the credibility and value of the painting as a piece of art in a terminology understood by tourists. If you sound like an online review, your copy automatically turns more trustworthy. Readers trust blogs as a credible source of accessing information online and holds the fifth position for the same.
5. Offer value in the form of solution for end users with factual details
Remember what we noticed about end consumers of technical blogs? These are the non-tech readers who are acting out of your post. Don’t fancy any debatable details unless you are willing to keep the results away. One thing that every person from such a background wants is a solution that either makes their lives easy or benefits their money game. So, cut all the technical data that doesn’t add value to the user’s point of view.
Einstein: “What I most admire about your art, is your universality. You don’t say a word, yet the world understands you!”. Chaplin replies: “True, but your fame is even greater: the world admires you, when nobody understands what you say.”
I make sure that my content doesn’t use any hypothetical situation or require imaginary ideal conditions to pitch my ideas. Use solid, actionable data to make your point. If possible, go for a scenario where the reader can directly test your advice and decide on the spot. The sooner the better for your copy. Facts are respected by all- literate, illiterate, fools, and gurus alike.
6. Put conclusory messages in black and white
By far, this is the most important aspect of a tech blog. Never leave room for any debate or confuse the decision-maker. They are here to seek your advice, so play an expert on whose opinion they can entrust their money. You can get greater reception in the tech blogging arena only if people look up to you as a consultant. Probably, patients don’t bother until the doctor’s medicine works for them.
Give a rock-solid conclusion in black and white. We should not promise beyond reality, but laying down a concrete ending is an unwritten golden rule of technical content writing.
I know that artistic creativity and solid, scientific literature are two different genres, but we can work on bridging the gap. The points I made above are the result of thorough observation of articles on various websites over the course of my career in the IT sector. I hope that this article will help my fellow tech bloggers to be at the top of their game even with a non-tech readers.