Science Writing Insights: Avoid “Blinding Them With Science”
As well as invoking lyrics from a popular song, blinding with science has a lot to do with science writing. It has entered the language as a phrase that means to avoid confusing an audience with jargon. You don’t need to sell to scientists to make use of science content within your marketing.
Companies market healthy food, new tech, and even beauty products with references to scientific studies and liberal use of scientific jargon. You can use science to differentiate your products from competitors. Remember that the best science writing tips always include advice about making sure that you don’t confuse or mislead your audience.
What’s New With Science Writing?
The New York Times wryly commented that consumers might need a glossary to compare beauty cream advertisements. While top brands do employ scientists to back up claims with research, they also hire science writers who can make fairly ordinary claims sound like patent applications. For instance, one dermatology researcher said that she could claim that a washcloth and warm water worked at the cellular level because these items could exfoliate dead skin cells to expose new skin cells underneath.
Certainly, credible research has proven that some products help more than basic hygiene does; however, when writers apply science to consumer marketing, they should probably use some checks on their claims to avoid getting outed later. Marketing Land offered some critical science writing insights when they mentioned consumer confidence as a critical marketing goal. Today’s consumers have lots of information at their fingertips. As a result, they have grown increasingly cynical.
If your prospects or customers find online comments about your brand that make them feel foolish for having bought into your science hype, you are going to lose their trust. If you’ve got science to back up your claims, don’t hesitate to use it. If not, you’re probably better off relying upon benefits that you can confidently back up.
Where to Find Science Content Marketing News
You’re most likely to engage your audience if you can leverage some of the big ideas that they’re already interested in. Consider these three sources of inspiration and discovery of today’s big ideas:
Gain Science Writing Insights From Popular Scientific News Feeds
As a science writer, you probably already love science. If you also want your readers to fall in love with science, you might explore the feeds of some of the best science writers in the business. These websites and blogs won’t necessarily deliver science content marketing news. At the same time, they can help you craft your science marketing content better by introducing you to important topics, alerting you to red flags, and demonstrating a great style that captures the public’s imagination.
If you’re looking for science writing tips, try these science feeds:
- CityLab: CityLab has provided reliable resources for research-backed writing in a number of industries, including real estate, construction, transportation, and sometimes even food and gardening. This website keeps up with the ways that cities work and how they’re transforming.
- Retraction Watch: Do you want to make sure the latest scientific study to make the news will hold up? If so, you can spend a couple of seconds searching Retraction Watch to make sure the article hasn’t been called out by other scientists or science journalists.
- StarTalk Radio: If you want to figure out how to engage your audience with science, why not learn from the world’s most popular astrophysicist, Neil Degrasse Tyson? Dr. Tyson and his guests explore a wide range of topics, from why he changed his mind about GMOs to the effectiveness of political satire.
This list just scratches the surface of amazing science feeds you can find online right now. Get some more big ideas at this Wired list of a couple of dozen science feeds you may find illuminating.
Look for Today’s Most Popular Scientific Topics
Do you need to start by uncovering scientific topics that have recently captured the public’s imagination recently? What better place can you visit to figure out popular science topics than the established magazine with the name of Popular Science? You can begin by exploring the magazine’s list of Big Ideas for 2016. These cover a range of topics that may apply to your industry, including medicine, space, technology, genetics, AI, and cities.
Use Technology to Leverage Social Networks and Influencers
If you’re already a popular science writer with a large audience, you may be able to pull topics out of your hat and make them popular on your own. The rest of us might resort to angling our stories towards topics that have already emerged because we can use those as a way to capture the attention of online influencers and our intended audience.
To learn which topics have recently gained lots of attention, turn to a tool like BuzzSumo. For instance, this search for beauty science lets you know exactly how many shares specific content has earned on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other popular measures of engagement. If a topic has captured the popular imagination, take the opportunity to ride the backdraft until you can gain your own momentum.
Science Writing Tips and Takeaways
Before you craft your own content or hire science writers, you should learn about your intended audience. You will probably need to appeal to smart and savvy consumers or business representatives. Engage readers and avoid criticism with your clear and sound science-backed arguments. Know when to avoid jargon that could weaken the impact of your content’s message. If you can peg your own science content marketing upon trending topics, you’ll have a greater chance to cast a wide net.
About the Author
Marilyn K doesn’t claim to be a scientist, but her background as a systems engineer gives her one of the most technical backgrounds in the science and tech writing field. She’s also just cynical enough to avoid selling any snake oil to her readers. Marilyn has helped clients in tech, real estate, marketing, software and many other fields engage new audiences through credible science, clear language, and a focus on what’s hot.