It’s 3PM and I’m watching a Netflix doc about winemaking, the fan is blowing the scent of fresh laundry from my hung-up clothes my way, and I’m thinking about how frustrated I get when I read website content that is so complicated I have to read each line four times before I think I get what it means.
When something as complex as winemaking can be described in such a alluring and beautiful way, why can’t your business or product?
Complexity is a good thing. If your business or product is too simple, then it may not be perceived as valuable. Think about how you perceive the $50 bottle of wine in comparison to the one that is only $8.99.
People are complex, life is complex, but reading about it all when you’re trying to get to grips with all that can be exhausting.
Winemaking is fascinating, and something I fully expect to do on a small-scale when one day. The quality of a good wine is influenced by so many things: the weather, the type of grape, the processing, the barrel it was held in, and its age. Each wine has a different personality.
But, at the end of the day, what are you looking for? A delicious wine that pairs well with whatever you’re having for dinner. That’s where a good wine label comes in.
A good wine label doesn’t complicate things. It tells a short, vivid story about the wine, and then gives recommendations for how to enjoy it. Each bottle of wine doesn’t come with a handbook. It’s all there on the label; all you need to know.
You don’t have to prove how smart you are.
You don’t have to prove how innovative you are.
You don’t have to prove how much academic experience you have.
If your readers can’t understand your service or product, they’ll move on to one they can. Simple as that. Why choose a wine with too much information over a wine that says, “good with steak and pasta”.
Overcomplicate, and you’ll receive a barrage of emails with basic questions from people trying to figure it all out. Be proactive, and give your audience the right information up front.
Often, when working with academics, the biggest error I see in their communications is over-complication. Some are worried that the intricacies they value so much will be lost if we boil down the topic. Others just aren’t used to communicating with people outside their realm, and get a bit frustrated when people don’t understand them.
Yes, complexity is important, but you can save it for those people who want to dive deeper. What are the essential pieces about your product or service that you want people to understand and take action on? Focus everything on those points, and link to more information where necessary.
For example, if you help people right hormonal imbalances, diving into the details of how different body chemicals react with one another can be really daunting. I know, I’ve researched this topic before, and completely gave up on health coach sites that started with the complicated science of hormones.
Here’s how I want you to approach every new piece of communications. Answer these questions in your copy, in this order:
What is the problem?
What is the solution your product or service supplies (in plain language) and how will your customer benefit from it?
In 3 sentences, how does it work?
Why did you develop this solution?
Where can people get more information?
Answer these questions as succinctly as possible, and in plain language, which means leaving out industry-specific jargon. Writing conversationally is the best way to communicate, because you write the way you’d speak. It’s easier to understand.
Your work is important. But, if no one understands what you’re talking about, your important ideas aren’t being shared. Think about your reader first, and develop content that speaks directly, and plainly, to them.