How to write for other scientists.

Bucket loads of science web content is read by no one. Sometimes it is too technical, sometimes too basic. The rest is stuck in a murky area between jargon and general.

Most of it, sadly, interests no one

There are two great ways to lose the attention of time-poor science or technology experts.

You could blab on about basic science (they’ll switch off; they already know it). Or you could try to be an online textbook on really serious concepts (but lots of good textbooks already do this).

We suggest you grab their attention

Use this step-by-step guide to writing science copy that your target science audience will read.

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Writers of murky copy are confused about who they are trying to reach.

You need to decide: are you writing for a scientific audience? If yes, don’t try to explain things they already know.

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Set objectives.

Do you want your scientist readers to do something? To invest in your project? Do you want them to share the information you’re imparting? Or to think differently about a particular topic? Spell it out.

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Brain-dump some of the messages you want to get across.

Focus on the benefits to your readers rather than the attributes of the product, service or opinion you’re offering.

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Start writing.

Put the key messages you created in Step 3 into some sort of rational order. Make sure your text flows; each sentence should compel the reader to move to the next.

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Check your copy for readability.

Use the first person (“we”, “us” and “you”), use subheadings to break up large chunks of text and keep paragraphs short.

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Upload your copy, with images if possible, to your content management system.

Test it to see what it looks like and how it functions before you make it go live.

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Collect information about who's visiting the page and why.

Use Google Analytics, user feedback forms or some other system. 

These handy steps will ensure your content is not being read by no one.