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How to Kick the Business Jargon Habit and Create Content Your Audience Will Understand

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FEBRUARY 2018

The use of business jargon can ruin great content. Business jargon can be found across a variety of content and has a detrimental impact on sales. Is jargon destroying your blog content and how can you fix it?

How Does Jargon Destroy Great Content?

Using jargon within your corporate bubble is beneficial as it signals you know the industry giving you credibility. But jargon is like business gang-speak and will leave outsiders cold.

Photograph by Sergey Nivens via Bigstock

Jargon Can Confuse The Reader

Jargon is a codified language. This means that comprehension of the terms is restricted. When using jargon, you must consider your audience and whether they have heard the business speak in context. If they haven’t they may have trouble understanding its meaning.

An example of this is the corporate phrase ‘to punch a puppy.’ A business outsider would be more including to report you for animal abuse rather than understand it as a euphemism for doing something bad for a good reason.

Professor Jennifer Chatman says that “Jargon masks real meaning” and can lead to unclear goals, and directions. Content that avoids jargon is simple to understand, sounds natural, and is well explained.

Readers Hate Jargon

Jargon and buzzwords become overused and are a cliché. Bloomberg reports that laser-focused appeared on over 250 transcripts of earning calls and investor events this year.  Anger is a side effect of over use and can be seen the hatred for bespoke.

A study conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management discovered that over a quarter of British workers found jargon to be an irritation.

Readers Identify Better With More Natural Usage

Research conducted on speech accommodation theory states that readers respond better to language usage that is closer to and mirrors their own. A reader connects easier to a more naturalistic sounding text.  This is also doubly important in an era governed by SEO content.

Repetitive buzzwords make it harder to differentiate between businesses. Content can be more expressive, fresher, and ever-green without jargon.

The Best Fixes To Jargon Usage?

There are a few simple ways to fix the use of business jargon in articles: –

Switch Jargon for Description

Instead of using a ‘paradigm killer app to leverage a buy-in solution on a deep dive around core competencies’ find a way to explain this in more natural terms. Changing this to – ‘Our software gathers and compares a wealth of data around a company’s key strengthens,’ describes the product clearly and simply while giving your brand personality.

A great way of doing this is by considering how your customers would describe your product by consulting your sales team as this will also match their search engine terms.  Jeff Bullas has a comprehensive list of Jargon and suggested changes.

Avoid Empty Phrases

Phrases like ‘at the end of the day’ provide little value or worth. The same is true of clichés and frozen metaphors which make your brand look stale or unimaginative. Just how many passionate, game changing start-ups with innovative out of the box thinking have you seen this year? It is best to avoid over-used buzzwords.

Don’t Over Sell

 A pitfall of business jargon is that it is full grandiose adjectives that over sell like we are ‘laser-focused’ instead of just focused, describing things as compelling or using terminology like best in class. These words can make content sound like it was written by a digital snake-oil salesman and can turn off readers.

Let’s Work Together…

Need help producing great content or blogs that are jargon- free? Work with us to create informative content that connects with your audience.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 20  years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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