Writing on technical topics is not an easy task even for the experienced author. This is due to the overall complexity of the subject and particular concepts and ideas for a wide circle of readers, as well as the absence of specific knowledge on how to write anything on cybersecurity for different purposes.
With that in mind, we prepared this list of the common cybersecurity writing mistakes and tips on how to avoid them. After reading our pieces of advice, you will be able to produce a high-quality text on cybersecurity for a wide audience.
1. Hiding your core thought deeply in the text
The first popular mistake that beginner writers make when writing on cybersecurity is failing to express their main idea in the first sentence of the paragraph. Instead, they provide the details first and then state their argument somewhere in the middle of the paragraph or in the end of it.
Such a mistake is common for writers with an engineering background: they write as if they were talking to their colleagues rather than the wide audience. Hence, the readers who do not pursue cybersecurity careers fail to understand the point of the text.
To avoid this mistake, be sure to move your main idea to the beginning of the paragraph. In the next sentences, provide proof for it and wrap up the paragraph with a short conclusion.
2. Piling up paragraphs with tons of information
Offering too much data and figures is not always necessary for cybersecurity texts, especially if you are conducting some interim reports.
For example, you need to present a speech on just one stage of the ongoing project. Include only points that make a difference in the scope of the whole project, and leave all the details out.
If you already made this mistake before and continue making it now, proofreading the draft will help. When you are done with writing, let yourself forget about it for the day, and then go back to it to check what is important and what is unnecessary with a fresh eye.
3. Using unclear graphics
Oftentimes, technical writing prescribes adding graphics and tables to the text or presentation. Beginner essay writers tend to use too many of them to make their project look more professional and in-depth. However, such an approach makes their writing look poorer and careless.
To correct this common security writing error, take your time to find readable graphics or create it on your own. Your readers want to grasp the idea of the image from first sight, so making them guess what all those dashes and figures mean is not reasonable.
4. Ignoring parallel structures
If you are a beginner cybersecurity writer, you are likely to use various sentence structures to make your text richer and sound better.
Unfortunately, this is not what is needed in technical writing. Here, your thoughts should be laid out clearly and consistently, especially if it is a guide.
Use bullet lists, start sentences from the same verb forms and leave out all the cliches to avoid this mistake, or consult a professional essay writer to correct your writing.
5. Formatting the text incoherently
The other issue that aspiring security writers overlook is text formatting. They do not pay attention to the capitalization, abbreviations, spaces between paragraphs and headers, etc.
They forget to apply one font to the whole text after finishing it, and, as a result, their text looks much worse than it could: first, it looks carelessly prepared and its author looks unprofessional. It even may impact the whole image of an employee if their boss notices a poorly formatted report.
Second, the readers of such a text are likely to miss their point due to low readability. Thus, they will not be able to use it as a guide for their needs and may even harm their company’s cybersecurity because of following inconsistent tips.
If you want your readers to benefit from your text, make sure to check whether the headers are in place, only one font style is applied, and the bullet lists are added where needed. This check will not take much time but will improve your writing a lot.
6. Adding unnecessary words and phrases
If the second mistake in this list was about providing too much unnecessary information in the text, this one deals with exact words.
Oftentimes, beginner writers use verbs and adjectives that duplicate each other’s meanings. Some do it naturally, others write them on purpose to make their writing more meaningful. However, neither of these approaches is effective: the text does not look professional and useful this way.
To avoid this notorious error, proofread your text and cross out the phrases or words that do not change your initial thought in every sentence. Don’t be afraid that your writing will become shorter: the longer does not always mean the better.
7. Using passive voice to avoid giving credit when it is needed
Writers who do not have much time for clarifications prefer using passive voice to avoid mentioning the names and circumstances of some events, e.g. program failures, virus detections, etc. This approach will not take you far.
If you are writing a report on cybersecurity, it is very important to indicate who has done what, when, and why. It is needed for understanding whether any errors were caused by human factors or automatically.
Also, if you forget to mention the name of the person who made a positive contribution to the solution of the cybersecurity problem, it may cause further tensions in your team and complicate future cooperation. Besides that, the passive voice usually makes sentences longer and tough to follow.
Hence, do not try to hide the people’s names behind the passive structures and use active voice to shorten sentences. If you are worried about the text simplicity due to the active voice usage, it is not an issue. When it comes to writing on technical topics, the easier the better for your readers.
8. Escalating conflicts through writing
This mistake refers to corporate correspondence when people blame each other for certain cybersecurity failures. Writing indignant emails to your colleagues is not a way to go even if you know that they did something wrong.
Using an aggressive tone of voice and telling employees what to do will not work and help to resolve the problem quickly. You will only get a bad reputation. Remember, no person is willing to conflict directly at the workplace.
Consequently, do not forget to re-read your messages to your colleagues to make sure you do not sound aggressive. If you know how to resolve a tough situation, express your vision politely.
Talk about your opinions more than blame your colleague for their mistakes. It will help readers to understand what you expect them to do and stay respectful and nice to cooperate with.
9. Expressing a lack of sympathy to the reader
The last but not the least mistake that many writers make is forgetting about the target audience of the text. Writing for a wide audience, e.g. readers of the hi-tech blog or newspaper is not the same as carrying out an internal report for the company you are working at.
Consequently, to avoid making mistakes in the first place, a writer needs to remember about their readers, their educational and professional background, age, and origin. All these details will help build the right reasoning and yield benefits.
Now that you know the most popular mistakes made in writing on cybersecurity issues, you can create strong texts that will hit the excellence mark.
Be sure to have this guide in front of you every time you start writing to prevent the above-mentioned inconsistencies. Over time, you will remember them and avoid them even naturally.
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James Baxter is a professional essay writer, ghostwriter, and blogger, who loves sharing his experience and knowledge with readers. He is especially interested in marketing, blogging, and IT. James is always happy to visit different places and meet new people there.