How to make challenging content easier to read -- and even interesting

Medical, legal, financial and technical businesses can have a tough time creating and disseminating content. Regulations, laws, restrictions and complicated terminology often mean long disclaimers tacked on to web pages or articles no one manages to slog through anyway. It doesn’t have to be that way.

While there may not be much you can do about the disclaimers, you can make challenging content easier to read, even entertaining!

challenging content

Okay, maybe not that entertaining, but close.

Keep it simple.
Note: This does not apply if you’re writing for an audience of your peers in a journal article, for example. In those cases, have at it and be as technical and “inside baseball” as you need to be. If, however, you are writing for a more general audience, the simpler the better. Very few people in the world enjoy the gift of being able to program and understand multiple programming languages, for instance. If writing an article or blog post on that topic, use simple, straightforward language to explain concepts and avoid jargon.

Find multiple editors.
There are people in your law firm who are not attorneys (or people who are not engineers or scientists or techies, etc.). Find them and ask them to read the piece you wrote. Ask them to read it as if they have no background or knowledge of the subject (even better if they don’t). And ask them to be honest with their feedback. Tell them that your goal is to create a piece that can be read and understood by everyone. Remember, feedback is not criticism of your work, it’s just an opportunity for you to have your message better understood.

Break it down.
If you’re attempting to address a long list of elaborate theories — don’t. In all likelihood, you’re going to lose people. Instead, create a series of articles and break down the concept into “bite sized” pieces that are more easily digestible.

Be interesting … carefully.
Obviously, in most cases, anyone writing about finances, legal, medical or pharmaceutical issues should not use personal or real-life examples. However, you can tie your topics into current events or put them into a format people find easier to read and understand — lists, how-to articles and interviews can all be a great fit.

Communicating more clearly with a general audience ensures that a broader group of people knows about and understands your work, no matter how technical it is. And your thoughtfulness in taking the time to make complicated concepts understandable may even inspire others to learn more about the field of work you love.

For a great example of how to make challenging content easy and interesting to read, check out anything written by astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. I’m kind of a fan girl and not just because he’s an impeccable and passionate communicator who makes space seem awesome again. Trust me, you can write like that too (and some day have your own legion of nerdy fan girls like me).

interesting content