Public affairs and political pros understand that words matter. They convince. They alienate. They might lead to victory, but they also run the risk of causing almost immediate defeat.

Unfortunately, many folks publish absolute drivel that’s hard to read and understand. Others get so wrapped up in the latest Google algorithm that they focus more on communicating with machines than with people.

In the world of advocacy and elections, we all get so wrapped up in the details of our issues and races that we sometimes lose sight of what the “average person” thinks and understands. We need to always be mindful to write for that audience, not for ourselves. Never assume facts not in evidence, as a lawyer might say. Don’t use jargon when simple English will suffice.

Although written for a business audience, Grant Draper’s recent piece at MarketingProfs does a nice job of examining the importance of writing effectively for a mass audience. It’s chock full of good advice about readability.

He sums it up succinctly, albeit in the passive voice:

the key to authoring good content is to use language that doesn’t detract from your message.