Writing even the most technical of subjects in a way that anyone in your can understand is a skill. When you publish articles online, you never know who is going to read them. You will have people who are well-versed and others who are new. The goal here is to write so that both groups of people on both ends of the spectrum. How can you write for multiple audiences in a way that everyone understands? We take a look at this in this article?
What is the Writing and Reading Level?
The writing level is a measurement of how techincal your writing is. This tends to be for subjects with a lot more terminology and jargon that beginners are most not likely to know. The more technical your subject is, the higher the writing level is naturally. This does not mean that you have to write at such a high level. Just that the subject matter lends itself to writing that tends to require more knowledge to understand. The good news is because you are the one writing the articles, you control your writing level and can tailor it depending on the range of readers you are targeting.
The reading level is the level that your audience reads and understands your articles. The contrasting difference with the writing level is that you do not control the reading of your users. You never know who will read your articles. Your visitor could be someone experienced in your subject, maybe not. So this makes it very hard to accommodate the reading levels of your users. It is almost as if you have to write two different versions of your article as you write because you need to make sure that as many people can understand your article as possible.
Why Are Writing and Reading Levels Important?
These two levels are important because they both need to be in sync in order to produce an article that can not only reach as many users as possible but can also be consumed, digested and understood. Writing and teaching are two different skills.
When you are writing, you are just expressing your thoughts into written words. You write with the intention of getting those words out. Teaching is different. When you teach, you are actually trying to impart something to someone. The biggest difference between writing and teaching is that with writing you just put it out there. If people understand it, they do. If they do not, then they do not.
Should I Write for Myself or Others?
This goes back to determining the writing and reading levels of your articles. If you are writing for yourself, then your two levels will be at a higher discrepancy than if you write for others. The reason why is because if you write for others, then you are considering both your writing and reading levels. This means that you are writing at a level that will more closely match your readers’ level.
Going either way, there is no wrong or right between writing for yourself or others. It all really depends on what your goals are and how well you know your audience. If you are just writing casually and not really concerned about traffic, then you can write at whatever level you want. You are not focused on traffic, so you do not have to worry about your readers.
If you know your audience well, then you can just write and their level and adjust as necessary. Later in this article, I will discuss methods that you can use so that your writing level can appeal to a wide range of reading levels. This is a good way to become a better writer because you will also learn how to become a better teacher too.
When you write in a way that teaches at the same time, you are performing two roles at once, that of a writer and a teacher. Not all of us write with the intention to teach. It just depends on what we are trying to accomplish with each article. At the very least, we are just sharing our thoughts. However, that does not guarantee that those thoughts have any intention of providing any actual instruction to anyone. They could just be thoughts and that is it.
Should Your Writing Level Balance With Your Audiences’ Reading Level?
If you want to become better at writing, you should tailor your writing level to appeal to a larger audience. This is a hard skill to acquire because when we blog, we normally just want to write about our subject regardless of who reads it. If we instill good storytelling from the start of our blog, then all of our articles will have wider appeal and will gain a stronger readership.
This is why I mentioned earlier that there is no right or wrong way to blog. You just need to know what works for you. Rather, I highly recommend that you explore different topics within blogging because awareness and exposure is very important. You just need to know about blogging as much as you can absorb. Whether you use these ideas or not, is up to you. At least you know about them. So if you want to use them later, then you already know what they are.
What Happens When There Is an Imbalance Between Writing and Reading Levels?
I have spoken a lot about the need to balance and equalize the writing and reading levels to deliver your articles to a greater audience. What happens if you decide to widen the gap between the two? What happens is that your article is targeted toward a specific audience. There is no problem with this, perhap it is intentional.
This is why some articles clearly state in the title what the required level of experience is for proper comprehension. Articles will use words like “beginner”, “intermediate”, “advanced”, or “expert” so that the article matches the reader’s level of experience. This is a good way to let your readers choose which article is best suited for them. Especially if you offer your article in various levels of experience.
This not only gives your readers a choice based on their experience level, but also gives you more to write about. It is up to you to determine what you consider “beginner” versus “advanced”. We have to use our best judgment here because those words are very subjective depending on how we view the subject matter. A “beginner” article still might be too advanced for someone who has no experience at all in the field. Likewise an “advanced” article might be too easy or boring for some.
So we just have to try things and see how they work out. The idea is that we have different levels of articles so that your readers can graduate to higher levels at their own pace. This also organizes and categories your content better so that everything is not all just one place. This makes it easier to access your content if you split it into levels. When it comes to promoting your leveled content, you can submit each piece individually, instead of a whole.
How Do I Equalize the Two Levels?
Equalizing for different audiences means writing more content so that beginners can understand your article just as much as your experienced users.
Define Technical Terminology and Jargon
You might need to define certain terminology and jargon that is specific to the subject that you are currently writing for. Explaining what certain terms means helps ease your users to make sure that everyone who enters your article, does so at an even playing field. This lets your users know that you are not only writing about something, but you are willing to go that extra mile to also teach them.
Introduce Your Topics With a Background That Sets the Stage
Another way to help get your beginners up to speed is to introduce topics to them with a little more background exposition. Just think about when you start learning about your subject. It is very hard to learn something when you have no background or experience. Someone had to be there to introduce you and teach you about what you are about to learn. This is the same exact concept.
Of course, you can never know just how much of a beginner some of your users are. As mentioned before, you will have to use your own experience when you first started out and use that to gauge how much of an introduction you need to provide.
This is why updating articles is so important because there is always more stuff you can add to your article to help beginners understand your article more. Also, for experts, you can add more technical and detailed stuff for them too. Whether you decide to separate the different experience levels into separate articles or combine them all to one is up to you.
If you do decide to combine all your levels into a single article, make sure that you have a table of contents that points to different sections for each level of users. The best part of having a table of contents, is that you can link to different sections using the hashtag that the table of contents plugin in WordPress generates. This is why I recommend WordPress so much. WordPress can do so much with its plugins that you can just focus on your articles and let the plugins add more functionality when you need it.
Why is Balancing the Levels Important?
Balancing the reading levels among your users makes them feel that you are writing for everyone. Just think about giving a speech in front of a crowd of people. If that crowd has millions of people, you want to make sure that you address as many people as possible. Each person will be at different levels of comprehension. If you intend on having a wide reach, then you need to tailor and adjust your speech as necessary. You might need to define your terminology, introduce your topic more, use simpler words.
Making sure everyone understands what you are trying to say is almost impossible. Some topics are just naturally and inherently technical. There is some level of comprehension required to even gain a basic understanding of the most complex of topics. These are the times that things are just out of your hand. You do your best and whoever understands you understands you. You cannot help everyone, but you try as best as you can.
What If My Article is Already Written? Should I Rewrite and Balance It?
Sometimes we think that once we have done something, we go back and look at it. We see mistakes and we want to correct them. The good news is that with writing articles, you can always go back and update them. If you want to add more to your article to address your other audiences, then you can do so without much repercussion.
Careful If You Are Using a Table of Contents Plugin
The good part is that you really should not need to change either the title or the URL of the article. You pretty much just need new headings and sections. Careful on changing the headings though if you are using a table of contents plugin. If the headings change and do not match the hashtag that the table of contents plugin generates, then your links will not work if you are pointing to them.
The writing and reading of your articles is something you should consider. Especially since we are publishing articles online, people are hopefully going to find your articles and read them. This may be different if we were just writing inside a journal that is meant for us. In that case, you do not have to worry about the reading level of our users.
There are a lot of benefits of writing your article for a wide variety of readers. You ensure that more people understand your article so that increases the value of your articles. The reason why is because if your article can benefit more people, the more useful it is. The more likely that people will leave your website with a bit of your wisdom after they finish your article. Is that not what we all want?
We would all like to impart some of our wisdom to others. This is why a common theme on this blog is getting you to pay it forward when you share your knowledge with others. Someone got you to where you are today. You can do the same for others.