Writing for your clients is not easy. It is different from professional writing intended for your colleagues, and you cannot approach it the same way you would the papers you wrote in veterinary school. It begs for a delicate balance between establishing yourself as the expert and providing useful information that is digestible by non-experts.
But when you really know your stuff, it can be hard to not get carried away in the science of it all. Read on to learn how you can convey scientific information to pet owners so they understand, and even enjoy reading it.
Step #1: Brainstorm
Brainstorming is the preliminary stage of the writing process. It helps you establish your topics, your audience, and your medium.
With so many potential topics to write about, how do you choose? Consider the questions your clients frequently ask, or research topics that are currently trending.
You are already familiar with your target audience—pet owners. But, what do they want from your content? To ensure your message hits home, talk to your clients, or consider sending out a quick digital survey. Listening to your audience can help to guide your writing.
You’ll also need to decide the type of content you want to create. Ideally, you will start with a long-form piece, such as a blog, and craft several smaller pieces, such as social media posts, from the information you already wrote for your blog post.
- Create a list of topics
- Understand your audience
- Determine the medium for each topic (e.g., social, blog, video)
Brainstorm with your team. Chances are, they’ve got ideas that could really get your creative juices flowing.
Step #2: Outline
The outline establishes structure and organizes your writing into ordered chunks. Not only will this help keep your writing coherent, it helps keep you on track as you write.
- Identify main topics
- Identify sub-topics
- Elaborate on each topic with bulleted details
- Note where graphics or images might be needed
You only need to create one outline per topic. If you’re creating content for one topic in multiple mediums, you can use the same core outline. For example, if you’re writing a blog and filming a video on heartworm prevention, use the same outline to write the article and the script.
Step #3: Write
Now that your information is organized, you can create a draft. Depending on how detailed your outline is, this might simply require turning your bullets into sentences and removing the headers. Once your first draft is complete, go through and add transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections. Your outline helped to organize your content so it’s easy to follow—don’t let the writing process ruin your structure.
Keep in mind that you may need to rework your first draft several times, and it might take a few drafts before you settle on one to submit for editing.
- Turn your information into a cohesive draft
- Add transitions
- Ensure your writing doesn’t get too scientific
Keep the outline section headers in your draft until the last minute to help ensure your structure doesn’t get lost.
Step #4: Revise
The revision process is divided into two parts.
- External editing — It’s absolutely essential that someone else reads your writing. After staring at the same words for hours on end, it’s easy to miss mistakes, or read what you intended to write, rather than what you have actually written. External editing is more imperative when it comes to content that is scientific in nature. The more complex a subject, the easier it is to produce material that is over your audience’s head, especially when you’re the expert. Your draft should go through at least one round of external edits.
- Self-editing — Now it’s time to review your editor’s comments and implement revisions. After making additional edits, read the piece out loud. Does it make sense? If you are presenting instructions, try following them as a pet owner would. Are you able to complete the process based on your writing?
- Check your grammar
- Check coherency
- Finalize content
Ask a non-expert to edit your work so you can ensure it makes sense to your target audience. Ideally, you’re able to secure two editors—an expert and a non-expert. But if it comes down to choice, it’s better to go with an editor who reflects your target audience.
Step #5: Format and repurpose
This final leg of the process is divided into two parts.
- Formatting — Now for the fun part! Adding multimedia elements, formatting your document, and following the style guide will make your writing visually appealing. Remember that people are visual learners, and formatting is essential to make your content an easy read.
- Repurposing — Repurposing involves assessing your content to determine how else it can be used. Can you turn your blog into several social posts? Maybe a video series? A podcast episode? Client handouts? Whether you choose to repurpose your content into one or several different mediums, never start over. Your core outline helps you group your content into sections that can be easily repurposed into separate handouts, multiple social media posts, or short videos. And since the actual content is already written, you will just need to tweak it based on the medium.
Formatting and repurposing goals:
- Format your content
- Insert multimedia elements
- Generate several forms of content for each subject
Reusing content is just that—don’t start each new element from scratch. Rewrite a blog into a script. Copy and paste blog sections into social copy. Repeating work costs you precious time, so make writing as easy and efficient as possible.
That’s what we’re here for! It’s our job to help veterinary professionals craft incredible content. Reach out to start your Rumpus journey!