How to write for your readers—not your executives

Four ideas writers can follow to help ensure their copy sounds like it’s written for humans and not for a board of directors.

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This rule applies no matter what you’re writing. Whether it’s a press release, a feature article, or a blog post, begin with your audience in mind.

I wish it were that simple.

In the world of corporate communications, “writing for your audience” often takes a back seat to political correctness and the whims of executives. Be honest: Is that ad copy you’ve been working on for prospects, or for your CEO? Is that press release for reporters, or for your board of directors?

In a corporate environment, it can be tough to remember that your audience is not your boss, but the “end user” of what you’ve written. Here are a few things you can try:

Use the words your audience would use when describing your product.

For example, the company I work for sells malpractice insurance for physicians. But of course, we can’t call it “malpractice insurance.” It’s “medical professional liability insurance,” as it’s known in the industry. And we’ve now been directed to call it “medical professional liability insurance” on our website, in our press releases, and in our marketing materials. To our customers, it’s “malpractice insurance.” So what should we call it?

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