The biggest mistake in writing for the web is NOT understanding the people who will read the content. This happens all the time in the content teams and it can lead to a lot of problems.
If you don’t really know the person you’re writing for, how can you craft the content to meet their needs?
Before you write anything, answer these three questions.
Who are you writing this for? What do they want? And what do you want?
First, Who is this for?
Determine how much the users know about the topic. Once you’ve figured this out, you’ll be better able to identify the gaps in your user’s knowledge and fill those gaps in.
Answering this question will also help you determine what technological terminology your readers will or won’t be familiar with.
Second, determine why somebody would be reading this.
What do they want out of it?
Are they looking to get a specific fact?
Are they trying to understand the subject matter?
Are they trying to decide whether or not to interact with us, or to make up their mind about the company?
The answer to those questions will help you format and structure your content so that it can best serve the goal.
Finally, what do you or your organization want from this piece of content, and why are you writing for?
What do you hope will happen as a result?
What impact do you want this to have on the reader?
Are they looking to drive more traffic to the site and attract attention?
Do you want the reader to decide to buy your product or sign up for your service?
Do you want them to contact your sales team?
Answering these questions will help you set your goals and the success criteria for the piece.
Understanding who you’re writing for and shaping the content to fit them is the core of UX Writing.