Hints and tips on writing for the general public

1 – “Hook and sinker”

Use a statement, example, or observation to draw your reader in at the start of the blog. Give your reader a pithy take-home message at the end.

2 – Human interest

Themes that the reader can relate to makes the content relevant for a public audience. It could be an example based on someone’s experiences, or a hypothetical that places your reader in the centre of a scenario.  Life-or-death situations grab readers’ attention.

3 – Short sentences

Try limiting sentences to ~20 words or less. If a sentence is too long (e.g. 22 words or more) try to re-write it as two shorter sentences.

4 – Firm vocabulary

Avoid words such as: could, would, can, should, ought, might. Using these words frequently makes the blog sound vague and uncertain.

5 – Simple sentence construction

Construct sentences according to the formula: object-verb-subject. That is, someone or something (object) does something (verb) to someone or something else (subject).  Sentences are more complicated when subjects come first because more words are needed to explain what is going on.  Sentences are also more complicated, and often sound more pompous, when verbs are unnecessarily turned into nouns.

For example, we’d recommend:

“Incorporating simple sentences makes the blog easier to read.”

rather than:

“The readability of the blog is facilitated by the incorporation of simple sentences.”

It’s often helpful to write a sentence the way we would actually say it.

6 – Decode scientific language

Explain what scientific words mean for your reader. Analogies are sometimes useful for describing complex processes or concepts.