When I started writing marketing copy for high-tech in 2004, I was absolutely terrified. I considered myself fairly tech-savvy in that I could, with intermittent IT support from my lil bro, get my desktop PC to perform as needed; set up a printer; burn CDs; and yes, even send faxes. But I had deep reservations as to whether I could actually pen cohesive documents about, oh say, the value of Cisco IP networking to the midsize bank. And yet, that’s exactly what this new job required. Looking back, I’m not sure I ever really slept those first couple months. Instead, after work, I would pore over network diagrams (seriously, what are those hockey pucks?!) and fight futility by attempting to memorize the acronym-laden opus that is Newton’s Telecom Dictionary.
As a former English major, I thought I actually needed to understand my subject through and through before writing about it. And then I came to see the error of my academic ways. In marketing, you need not feel the weight of such detail. Rather, you only need to know how to communicate the value of that subject—with brevity and beauty. Easy enough, right? Well, it is in a way, as long as you keep one key thing in mind: your audience.