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
  • 2017 Contact Center Software Cost Guide

    Are you paying too much for your contact center software? Are you satisfied with its capabilities, or do you wish it did more? These are questions most businesses don’t take the time to think about, even though contact center software is one of the most important investments that you’ll make. With a little bit of planning, you can end up saving money and still end up with better functionality. more

  • What You Need to Know About VoIP Security

    No matter the industry or area of expertise, a strong VoIP system is the perfect tool for any business looking to take both its internal and external communication to the next level. more

  • Are You Using These 5 VoIP Features?

    In large part, the success of your business depends on the strength and reliability of your team’s many communication networks—this includes your Voice over Internet Protocol system (VoIP). more

  • Video Conferencing Best Practices

    Video conferencing is quickly becoming one of the most important communication channels for both small and big businesses. As more businesses turn to this technology, expectations about the experience are also rising. It’s not enough to just offer video conferencing as a communication method. You also need to meet minimum audio and visual standards, and there’s even proper etiquette to consider. more

  • 10 Contact Center Myths Busted

    For most forward-thinking companies, the use of contact center software is on the rise. That said, in spite of contact center software’s sudden rise in popularity, a number of myths have begun to take shape. more