How to Avoid Eating Your Own Dog Food

Updated: June 07, 2011

Here are some ways you can avoid eating your own dog food:

1. Fully understand your reader

If you're a marketing writer working inside an enterprise, query your customer-facing employees such as salespeople, customer support and customer service to gain an idea of the target readers' knowledge of certain terminology.

2. Use scale 1-10 questions

If you're a freelance writer producing a white paper for a customer, ask your white paper Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) how familiar the target readers are with terms on a "scale of 1 to 10" with 1 being clueless and 10 being intimately familiar. If their response is low, use analogies. If it is high, then you do not need the analogies.

3. Use industry references

Whether the reader knows a term or not, it's always safe to use external references to support your position. If the reader doesn't know the meaning of a term, an external article will further educate them. If they already know it, the article will reinforce their existing knowledge.

4. Apply concept graphics

Concept graphics are illustrations that translate text concepts into pictures. Using these graphics helps readers understand complex terms. It also forces white paper marketers to include detailed labels, workflows, components, and attributes expressed in clear terms, moving them away from the "dog food" problem.

Featured Research
  • The 2017 CRM Comparison Guide: Q2 Edition

    If you’re in the market for CRM software, we’ve got good news. We’ve updated our CRM comparison guide for Q2. more

  • 2017 Business VoIP Features

    If you’re considering an investment into a new VoIP system (or upgrading an old one), it’s important to understand what features are available and which ones your business will actually need. Especially if you want to keep costs at a minimum. more

  • 10 Reasons Why  Automated Agents  Aren't the Answer

    Automated customer service agents are a tempting option. They never need time off. You don’t have to pay them a salary. They don’t even need a physical workspace. But despite these advantages, they remain a poor substitute for live agents. more

  • Get the ERP Solution You Want in 5 Steps

    An effective Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution is a must-have for any growing business looking to quickly improve the flow and efficiency of various internal processes. more

  • ERP in the Government Sector

    Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions have helped businesses improve the flow of key internal processes. That said, there’s yet another professional sector that’s benefitted, too … more