Scientists are people of few words. They want evidence-based facts. A deep passion for science is ingrained in their very core. But they live in their own universe that can be tough to infiltrate. They are a species apart with their own dry tribal language, very difficult to decipher, and their own rituals.
Writing content that appeals to scientists is therefore rather challenging.
Yet, understanding who scientists are and what makes them tick holds the key to how to consistently create engaging content that will connect with them. Here are four insights into reaching scientists.
1. Scientists are a tough audience.
Scientists are often perceived as cold, smart, socially inadequate, secluded “geeks,” slaves to their experiments. Their unconditional love of science compels them to dedicate their lives to the endless pursuit of scientific knowledge. Their logical, inquisitive and analytical minds are driven by a relentless, daunting and often, painful quest for the truth about life.
Because science slowly shaped them into who they are, you need to understand that scientists are a tough crowd to reach and please. Although they have to communicate with a variety of audiences, they themselves find challenges in interacting with the general public. Connecting with them is difficult.
The key ingredients to appeal to scientists are simple: capture their attention, stimulate their curiosity and produce high quality content.
2. Capture their attention.
Remember that to grab and hold scientists’ attention, you have to think like them.
We live in a fast-paced society where every second counts. Our minds are constantly bombarded with messages through different media channels. Scientists are highly trained in rapidly identifying what is noteworthy and what should be ignored. Make every attempt to be different and stand out from the crowd. Be very specific about what your topic is. Pick your title carefully to convince your audience in a few words.
Also, scientists are passionate about what they do. They need to be fascinated. They possess an insatiable appetite for learning. Your content has to captivate them and stimulate their interest. Write with enthusiasm to generate excitement on their part. Find ways to deliver effective and powerful messages that will shake your scientific audience to the core.
3. Stimulate their curiosity.
According to Loewenstein, curiosity is ignited “when attention becomes focused on a gap in one’s knowledge. Such information gaps produce the feeling of deprivation labeled curiosity. The curious individual is motivated to obtain the missing information to reduce or eliminate the feeling of deprivation.”
Curiosity is an important motivational force for scientists. To write content that scientists want to read, it is critical to stimulate this curiosity.
Scientists are interested in a number of things. They relentlessly question everything. Their explorative open-mind is always active, on the lookout for the next best exciting idea. Your piece has to spark their interest and make them want to explore further and ultimately dig dipper. Look for ways to open up new avenues and create possibilities.
Scientists always ask “What if?” They are constantly searching for hidden things to discover. Think outside the box. Find ways to make them want to scratch their heads and look beneath the surface. Scientists want to be surprised and challenged. They have adventurous minds and do not want to be bored. You have to puzzle them so they want to know more or share and talk about what they read.
4. Produce high quality content.
Quality is essential to scientists. The Nobel Prize, the world’s most prestigious award, honors top-quality and excellence in scientific research. When writing content for scientists, be aware that they have very high standards. They crave valuable and relevant high-quality content presented in a clear, concise and appealing format.
Modern society is overloaded with information explosion on social media. Such an epidemic poses a serious threat to the dissemination of sound content and paves the way for failure. Scientists have a culture of excellence and zero tolerance for mediocrity. Your goal is to create a powerful piece that will be taken seriously.
To effectively communicate with scientists, it is imperative to establish your credibility. This can be achieved by ensuring that your sources are reliable, accurate and trustworthy, in other words, reputable. Doing so is a great way to build trust with your scientific audience.
Scientists rely heavily on work published by their peers. So, make sure to reference industry experts. This will prove that you know what you are talking about and that you took the time to find valuable resources your avid readers can take a look at. This will make your content convincing. Scientific readers are skeptics by nature and want evidence.
Generating quality is also about paying close attention to details. Always ensure that you are thorough and accurate in the way you convey your message.
Using these key points will help you to develop relevant content that will attract and engage your core scientific audience.
Science and research have been an essential part of 5-Star Writer Marianne P‘s life for a very long time. She is a Senior Research Scientist specialized in kidney biology with over 20 years of laboratory experience in academia.