You are the expert. You have oodles of experience. You know your product. You’re passionate about your product.
The problem is you just don’t seem to be able to translate that passion into engaging content. Why?
There are many reasons you might be missing the post. Today, we are going to talk about jargon. That dreaded terminology that took you months, if not years to pick up is likely turning your content to gobbledegook. It’s time to unlearn those words, and simplify, simplify, simplify!
Here are some tips for keeping your content clear, engaging and authoritative. Write down what you know and then give it a little bit of love.
Just remember – it’s all in the KISs
Keep It Short
You want to find the most efficient way to relay your point. Why use 15 words when four will suffice?
All you are doing is alienating and likely boring your audience.
Your copy overall does not need to be long to be effective. Neither do your sentences. By shedding the excess, you will likely cut a lot of the jargon by default.
Keep It Simple
Your field is likely full of complicated definitions and terms that make communicating within the industry easier. You must remember that no one else understands your jargon. If you want to illustrate your point, strip away the technical words. Assume your audience does not have a glossary of your terms. Be as clear as you can without patronising your reader.
Your thesaurus can absolutely be your friend. Just try not to overdo it, like Friend Joey Tribbiani once did.
Keep It Straightforward
Get to the point. Unless you are writing for writing’s sake (which by the way is a perfectly admirable thing to do), there is no need to beat around the bush. Tell it how it is.
Sometimes it can be hard to remember that using your jargon is not, in fact, the most straightforward way to explain something. Sure, if you are speaking to people within your industry that may be so. Clients, partners and other stakeholders won’t understand.
It can be helpful to break down your content into bullet points or headings. This can often highlight for you what your most important points are.
Keep It Stylish
Create a brand style guide. Work with your marketing resources to identify how you want to represent your brand to the public.
Know your tone ahead of time. This can be a really simple way to avoid using jargon. If you have planned your style ahead of time, you might also have identified a handful of key phrases that relay your brand clearly. Using these instead of industry jargon will be far more effective.
Keep it Succinct
You want to make your content clean, clear and sharp. Don’t be precious with your words. There is a lot of literature about how to declutter your life or your house. The Japanese KonMarie method tells us to keep only those things that spark joy. When it comes to your writing, ask yourself, “does this sentence support my point?”
- Remove anything that doesn’t serve your purpose.
- Avoid the passive voice; it’s clunky and unclear.
- Use strong purposeful words. The more direct your words are the fewer you’ll need to use.
- Don’t be redundant.
When it comes down to it, using jargon in your copy is the easiest way to lose your audience. Non-industry readers won’t understand and they will check out. It is so much harder to win back an audience member than to just keep them interested.
So when you’ve written your first draft – KISs your jargon goodbye.