In farming, there are acronyms aplenty and a lot of technical messages to get across. For anyone outside the loop, it can be confusing. Which is why, when getting your message out there, whether direct to the public or through the media, it’s important to us here at Eve that we keep in mind who our writing is aimed at and make no assumptions about their agricultural knowledge and experience. At the same time, we have a simple cribsheet to help us communicate farming stories in a simple and engaging way.
Lose the acronyms.
Yes, it might be obvious to you who ADAS is and what BFREPA stands for but will it be to your audience? This is particularly important when targeting the general public, who may be interested in food and farming without necessarily knowing the ins and outs of the industry.
It is good practice to start referencing agricultural organisations by setting out the full title or phrase before putting the acronym next to it in brackets so it is clear to the reader from the outset who and what you’re referring to.
Reduce your word count
When writing, it’s always worth considering whether a phrase or sentence could get across the same point using fewer words. Short and punchy is key and your reader will appreciate you getting straight to the point. A good way of discerning this is reading the passage aloud to yourself and if you’re out of breath by the time you’ve finished it’s probably a sign that it needs revisiting. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and consider that you are likely to be writing for time-strapped farmers and agricultural professionals who want to be kept abreast of all the latest information and agricultural products but might not have much longer than five minutes to spend researching.
Read over your copy and check how many times you’ve used particular phrases over again without even realising it. Why not ask a colleague or friend to proof read your writing with a fresh pair of eyes? If they’re new to the subject, even better as they can explain whether you’re writing makes sense to someone learning about something for the first time.
Break it up
You’ll notice that even in this article, we use headings to introduce a new idea or section within our articles. The simple reason is to avoid fatigue. Often, your reader is not sitting down to read your article in full, particularly if it’s online. They may be conducting research about a particular product or solution to a problem and will be scanning your article to find the specific information that is relevant to them.
When confronted by a long piece of text, your reader may well switch off after the first few paragraphs and exit the page if online. To keep your reader engaged for longer, it’s important to provide an experience that facilitates their needs, be it a video tutorial, infographic or tweet. It’s straightforward to embed content from social media and YouTube that could demonstrate a technical process and prompt further engagement with your brand.
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