I'm not a doctor. I've never gone to medical school. And I could barely sit through frog dissection day in 7th grade biology (the smell of formaldehyde still haunts me).
But, as it turns out, none of that matters... even though in the past five years, I've taken the most complex topics from medical publications like the New England Journal of Medicine and Gut and made them more readable for mainstream audiences.
In most cases, that involved things I never thought I'd do: poring through clinical manuscripts (the sequence of abstract, background, methods, results and conclusions), pondering them, deciphering them, and simplifying them for news releases, blog posts and bylines.
Any good journalist will tell you that you don't have to have a degree in a topic to write about it well, and confidently. It just takes time, practice, and enough self-awareness to know when you don't know what you don't know.
But writing for a brand is a different beast still. You're telling (and selling) the story of an organization, something you're supposed to know a thing or two about, but sometimes that story is buried in a complicated topic. Or a confusing one. Or a boring one. Sometimes it's not easily told or understood.
It's hard to serve the brand if you can't serve the story, and it's hard to serve the story if you don't know the context (and all the context) surrounding it. It's hard, but not impossible.
Here's how to write clear, compelling content about things you don't yet understand.
1. Find crickets, consensus, and controversy during online research