Let me explain.
I recently shared with a dear friend that every time my accountant mentions the word “liquid assets”, my STEM-brain immediately thinks of a Chemistry lab. As an accountant himself, we both had a good chuckle about it. (STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
But it really goes to show how one word can hold such different meanings for different people.
In the #science and #engineering world, liquid refers to one of the states of matter: solid, liquid or gas. Think ice cubes (solid), water (liquid) and steam (gas or vapor).
In the accounting and financial world, liquid assets refer to the cash value of anything you own.
Ahhhh … cash! That’s a word we can all definitely understand, right?
While my STEM-brain had already started the melting process on my home and car, that’s not what the term liquid meant at all to my accountant. Thank goodness!!
It sounds like Greek to me
In my line of work as a #technicalwriter, I come across industry-specific terminology and jargon all the time. It’s those words that when you use them, immediately signals that you’re part of a community. It can be a community of engineers, accountants, teachers, or pharmaceutical manufacturers for example.
When trying to reach a broader audience, however, these same words that tend to unify a group of professionals, can alienate your target customer. In many cases, your target customer is not an expert in your industry or profession.
And that’s a good thing!!
You want to be seen as the leader in your field. You want to be the go-to solution for the problem your customer is facing. You just need to come up with a clear, concise, and relatable way to tell your customer why your solution should be their only solution.
Customer First Mindset
Keeping your customer in mind should show up in all your documents – from your detailed procedures to your latest blog post.
For example, a procedure is typically directed at the front-line operator who will be using your piece of equipment on the production floor.
What do they need to know so they can run this piece of equipment?
Are there any safety checks they need to perform before using this piece of equipment?
How well does it integrate with the existing equipment on the production floor?
For first time visitors to your blog and website, however, they’re probably not looking for a 20-page equipment-specific procedure. Instead, a short summary of what your piece of equipment does will catch their eye. Address their pain points. Think big picture.
How does your piece of equipment help them meet and exceed their annual production goals?
How is your equipment going to save them money in the long run?
What sort of support systems do you have in place if they run into any issues?
Content Strategy for the Win!
The strategy behind how you produce written pieces of content is just as important as the content itself. A sound strategy means you’re not going to alienate your reader. Instead, you’re going to draw them in again and again.
Being able to break down a complex idea or even a word (remember liquid?) into a format that just about anyone can relate to is the real talent of a #technicalwriter. Technical writing involves professional knowledge of or a willingness to research the tastes of your target customer.
Thanks to my accountant, I have a newfound appreciation of the word liquid.
The question is, how does your customer feel about your written content?
Do they feel invited to the party?
Or do they feel left on their own to navigate the complexity of your product or systems?
If you want to partner with me to help you translate your most complex product and systems to your target customer, schedule a call with me today!!
This article is also published on Linkedin.