A Big Tip for Effective Business Writers - Take 2

[Editor's Note: This post was first published on September 26, 2019. But considering how common the problem is (and the fact that my original topic for today somehow got completely deleted), let's talk about it again.]

For this particular post, we’re going to get straight to the point. If you want to be an effective business writer, don't automatically assume all your readers will know exactly what you're talking about.

Because they might not.

For that matter, they might not at all. In which case, you'll lose them. Maybe for good.

More about that in a minute.

For now though, let’s consider the following paraphrased business blog from a writer I shan’t mention by name. Since I’m not directly quoting him or citing any larger concepts that are his intellectual property alone, I don’t need to call him out.

Here’s what this unnamed individual had to say:

Why don’t people use Elliott wave analysis more often? Actually, there are many well-known investors and money managers alike who do. With that said, yes, it’s true that most don’t.
Part of that is because Elliott wave analysis takes a lot of work and is very complicated. Most people who claim they’re using it fail miserably in their attempts, resulting in little better than guesswork predictions. They might as well just toss a coin.
In addition, there are those who doubt its strength. They’re looking for utter predictability, which doesn’t exist. Which they then use to point out this investment tool’s alleged “flaws.”

It goes on like that for over 1,000 words… all without ever once explaining what Elliot wave analysis is. In my non-Elliot-wave-understanding opinion, that doesn't tempt me to get involved.

Not even close.

In this business writer’s defense, he is apparently an Elliot wave analysis expert – as he mentions on repeat to an embarrassing extent. So he no doubt thinks that he’s preaching to the choir.

Who’s going to go on his page other than people interested in the obscure topic he’s talking about?

I don’t entirely blame him for thinking that way. But it’s a costly mistake nonetheless since it automatically excludes people who:

  • Are searching for what Elliot wave analysis is

  • Want to know more about it

  • Need a refresher course on the subject

  • Randomly happened onto his page like I did.

There’s actually a pretty decent range of possibilities he could be catering to. In which case, it might not matter how many times he quotes clients who are so exceptionally impressed with him.

And believe him when he says that they are.

Readers are left in no doubt about his investment prowess when 257 of his 1078 words – approximately a quarter of them – are reviews about what a genius he is… how rich people are thanks to him… and how he “is simply one of the smartest people” ever.

That’s a direct quote. But since those same exact words in that same exact order appear at least another 2,429 times on the internet, according to Google, I still don’t have to embarrass this investment individual by naming names.

Lucky him and lucky me.

All slightly mean-spirited (and definitely exasperated) joking at someone else’s expense aside, there is a quick fix here. Business writers (or writers in general) don’t have to go into enormous detail about insider info in order to be effective in such situations.

Take the paraphrased article intro above. As a reminder, it starts out like this:

Why don’t people use Elliott wave analysis more often? Actually, there are many well-known investors and money managers alike who do. With that said, yes, it’s true that most don’t.

Right after that, he could add this short and sweet explanation:

One reason is that it’s not the most well-known market principle to work with, since it not only takes price fluctuations into consideration but also investor psychology. For a more detailed look at what it is and how it works, click here.

Those last two words could then link to a special page – perhaps even a promo – he no doubt already has that gives more details. Then he can continue on with his next however-many paragraphs without any great inconvenience.

A mere three lines isn’t going to annoy any (sane) regular readers who already know all about Elliott wave analysis. Yet those mere three lines can offer the clarity necessary for uninitiated readers to keep reading.

It’s therefore a win-win all around, and at all of two-minute’s extra time on the effective business writer’s part. That makes it a win-win-win writers really should capitalize on every chance they get.

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