Write for a general audience

When you are working on the text for your project, keep in mind that the publications, videos, apps, and other materials in the OSU Extension Catalog are intended for a general audience. So, unlike the work you submit to a scientific journal, keep the language in your project at a level a lay person can understand.

Before you start writing, ask yourself what you know about the people you want to engage. What is the age and education level of your audience? How technology savvy are they? How much experience does your audience have on the topic you are covering? How will they use the information? These kinds of questions will help you focus what and how you write.

Because your audience will not necessarily be experts in your field, it is important to write in a clear, straightforward way. To streamline sentences and paragraphs:

  • Use active voice in sentences.
  • Avoid jargon.
  • Use common words instead of technical terms.
  • Avoid clichés.
  • Read your writing aloud—it’s the best way to find an incomplete sentence or one that doesn’t make sense.

But don’t worry if your text is not perfect when you submit your project. We are here to help make suggestions and edits, so that your final project is as strong as it can be.

Have questions?

Contact: Jim Sloan, Publishing Team Leader

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