A few tips on writing for professionals

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For the past 15 years, my main job has been writing for law firms, accounting firms, and other professional services and B2B firms. These organizations are full of smart people doing complex work, and my job is to explain in the simplest terms. 

I also coach accountants and lawyers on writing articles, blog posts and presentations for a wide audience. 

Simple writing tips:

  • Start from the beginning. Assume no prior knowledge of the subject and explain it as if you're starting from scratch.
  • Avoid jargon. This is a tough one for some professionals, because they use terms like M&A and T1 forms on a daily basis and everyone around them follows what they are saying. Try to write the article and then go back over it looking for any terms that people outside the industry might not know.
  • When possible, tell a story. It is much easier to follow a complex thought if it is told in story form. So for example, if an accountant wants to talk about employee share programs or corporate buyouts, I suggest they tell the story of when this worked for a client (without naming the client specifically unless permission has been given).
  • Always get someone to read your article and suggest edits before posting it. This is another tricky one for some professionals, as they are experts on the subject and might assume they can tell it best. The purpose of an editor is to make sure the content is clear to all readers, and a second pair of eyes is always a good idea.