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Writing to special audiences

Updated: Feb 13, 2019

If you’re not writing in a thoughtful and sensitive way for your audience, the reader will not feel important and the message can be lost.


You might work for a university, research firm or hospital foundation where the language that professors or doctors use is too complicated for your general audience.


Use simple language whenever possible, and when you have to use unfamiliar terms, it is best to explain them to your audience with definitions or pictures. Always double check with an expert that you are using the correct definitions to further explain their research.

Your writing should be readable for someone with an eighth grade education. You are able to run your writing through sites such as Word Count Tools and Readability Score to determine the readability level. Ideally, you should score closer to 90, so that your writing has the widest reach possible.


Ask yourself, “How do I feel when I read this?”

When I worked for Aboriginal Relations ministry, I would often proofread other policy advisor’s letters before they went out to the general public. If I found tones that were authoritative, or disempowering in some way, the writing would have to be rewritten.


It sometimes takes a knack to develop just the right tone to receive a positive response, but also just putting yourself in your readers shoes while reviewing your own writing can be helpful.

When in doubt, it can be beneficial asking for feedback from someone who fits the target audience you are trying to reach. But, often times trusting your instinct can be enough, if you think your writing doesn’t sound quite right, it probably doesn’t to someone in your readership either. Change it until you have the trust that your #writing will be positively received.


We’re living in a fast paced world where information sharing is instant and facts can be incorrect or sketchy at best. This gives you all the more reason to take the time to evaluate what you have written before you hit the send button or print your letter or article.

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