Due to the sometimes confusing and complicated nature of your work, the general public doesn’t always understand the message you want to get across. Fixing this problem requires creative thinking to develop unique ways to transform technical terminology into easily digestible, engaging content everyone can understand and want to read. See, when your audience goes from ‘huh?’ to ‘oh, I get it!’, they’re more likely to engage and that’s a huge win for you!
Tech-y subjects like number analyses, system functions and legislative action don’t always draw attention from audiences more interested in current events, such as the next big sale or what streaming show to watch. You need to make important messages stand out in a sea of cute puppy and baby videos. The content needs to drive a serial Instagram scroller to pause the way they did when a gossip magazine announced Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan broke up. It must gain engagement and reach the way the blue or gold dress took over the internet in 2015. So, that begs the question, how do you turn technical and complex topics into compelling material to capture eyeballs and encourage clicks?
First, you have to take it back to basics – do the research! You need to understand your target audience and what motivates them. Audiences, of course, can range from teenage TikTokers to parents to high-powered CEOs and any other population in between. Each one of these groups find different things that appeal to them. Find those things, note them and use them!
With this new knowledge on your audience, you should begin translating the technical language into content they will understand and actually care about. To do so, look through the text and data to find the ‘pearls’ – those key points and messages you need to tell the story and appeal to the audience. Use the story to connect the data and technical terms to them personally to tell them why they should care. Use your team to talk through the subjects because, more often than not, speaking through a complicated matter simplifies it for you and generates more ideas on how to communicate it.
As you ponder the story with your team, ask yourself two questions: what do I want the audience to know about this topic? And, what do they need to know? Ah yes, the age-old debate – wants vs. needs. Once you understand that the audience does not NEED to know everything you WANT them to know to drive them to act, you can quickly transform your jargon-riddled content into a piece that’s easier to read and understand for the layman.
With the work, research and debate complete, you need to take a trip to math class. Communicating technical subjects relies on a simple equation:
Important, Simplified Content + X = An engaged audience who gets it!
X is the makeover you give your drab technical language to make it the coolest, most popular kid at the party. Now, this elusive X can be many, MANY things. For example, X can include the use of colorful graphs to communicate technical data or illustrations and motion graphics to break up long blocks of text to create visual interest. X could also include condensing information into a cohesive series of materials or relaying information through videos or social media. Once you determine the X in the equation, your method then needs to be two-fold: grab attention and then capitalize on that moment the user has given you.
While we know it can be daunting to transform massive datasets, 13-letter words and long, descriptive paragraphs that would make a rocket scientist’s head spin into something compelling and engaging, it really is as easy as solving for X. Finding the perfect X is a team effort. It includes trial, error and collaboration – a true experiment.
Translating technical content into a story the general public can read, understand and relate to is challenging. As a writer, making personal connections and analogies to the subject matter allows for further understanding of the technical topics. If you relate to the content, you can help your readers understand it too.
Tell us how you solve for X in the comments below. Learn more about our X by checking out some of our work!