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How to write without insulting your readers’ intelligence

Smart writers know how to write for smart people. That is because the average reader is not that uninformed. Besides, being the Google generation, we can fact-check anything anytime.

What if you’re unintentionally insulting your readers?

In this post, we also listed tips on how to avoid doing that.

How to write without insulting your readers’ intelligence

One of the most important elements in copywriting is piquing the readers’ interest.

You would still want to educate them, but you wouldn’t want to be too pompous about it.

So, you must learn how not to insult their intelligence.

Here are some tips.

✔ Check if you are repeating common knowledge.

Do a mini content audit. Browse your LinkedIn posts or blog posts. Are you writing commonly known knowledge, quips, stories, or facts?

You might want to stop doing that. It’s okay if you’re using commonly known information to:

  • emphasize a point.
  • build a premise.
  • compare and contrast.

However, don’t write a commonly known fact and make it sound like brand new information. If you keep doing that, you might imply that the reader is living under a rock.

To avoid that, you can follow the next tip right away.

Related: Copywriting during a crisis: 10 best practices

✔ Bring in something new and insightful.

People will quickly bounce if they’re not getting anything new or useful from your post.

You can avoid this by:

  1. Introducing an overlooked angle. If you’re referencing a book or a story, don’t just retell an overview if it’s not necessary. Pick an overlooked angle and expand that.
  2. Listening to the community. Always listen to what people have to say. Browse a niche forum. You might find something interesting from the members.
  3. Using new analogies and metaphors. Sparingly, though. You want a refreshing quip, but you don’t want to alienate anyone.
  4. Playing the devil’s advocate. Consider going against the “acceptable” notion. What could be the consequences? You can explore theories.

To give something insightful, you should also dare to go against the grain. Look in the corners you wouldn’t normally peek.

Write to make readers feel smart - Quote - The Tiny Seconds blog

✔ Get straight to the point.

With the world in crisis, people would want to get to the bottom line.

Now, the problem with some writers is they are writing for themselves, not for the ones reading their work.

In wanting to sound smart, some might cram too much information in one post.

They also get attached to their words.

Kill your darlingskill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.’

Stephen King

Meandering with your words will just insult your readers.

One risk is implying that they need more information (more than they actually need) to get your point.

So, even if you don’t want to, kill your darlings.

✔ Go easy with the crutches.

Use qualifiers and adverbs only when necessary.

You don’t want to say things like:

“You will go through this hellfire bravely,” or “She sang with a smile, happily skipping to her lover.”

The key to avoiding the abuse of these crutches is to edit, edit, edit. Use Hemingway App to spot the sneaky adverbs.

Not enough for you? Get an editor.

If you don’t have an extra set of eyes, I recommend you let your article sit for a day. After that, you can go back to it with a fresh set of peepers.

I promise you — you will notice cracks and splits you overlooked when you were writing your piece.

✔ Wrap things up with a solid conclusion.

Writing for a niche audience is not always like posting Facebook statuses or tweets for your friends to read.

You need to arrive at a conclusion. This way, you can leave a strong impression on your reader.

If you get lazy with this, your readers will just feel unsatisfied. To satisfy your readers, you have to give a sense of closure through a solid conclusion.

Through such, they will feel like they solved a puzzle, relieving them and making them feel smarter in the process.

Conclusion

The great Gene Schwartz said it best:

I write with my ears.

If you want to actually help your readers, you have to be attentive with what or how you write.

Always self-check if your content is becoming out of touch.

Need help with writing smart content?

We can help you create content that won’t insult your readers’ intelligence.

By Tricia Hingpit

Copywriter from Davao City, Philippines.

One reply on “How to write without insulting your readers’ intelligence”

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