How To Avoid Jargon In Your Content

By Jay Ludgrove Business, Digital Marketing, Social Media Comments Off on How To Avoid Jargon In Your Content

How to Avoid Jargon in Your Content - Jay Ludgrove

Jargon is complicated language used to impress, rather than to inform, your audience.

It’s a language within a language used by people in the same area, made up of specific terms that make sense within a defined group but not outside of it.

Put simply most people find it annoying, cringeworthy or impenetrable. So unless you’re talking directly to people with a really advanced level of knowledge about the topic in question, then you should be avoiding it like the plague.

That doesn’t mean leaving out ALL technical terms. If you’re talking about Chrome, Opera and Safari then you’re going to use the word ‘browser’ and that’s fine – that’s a universally understood term for a certain kind of software.

But if you’re routinely talking about ‘paradigm shift’ or whether or not you have enough ‘bandwidth’, then you’re slipping into the trap of regurgitating clichéd jargon – simply use ‘change’ or ‘time’ respectively.

Maybe you like to talk about incentivising your user-centric e-markets. But please don’t. Going beyond necessary technical terms to write in jargon can cause misunderstanding or alienation, even if your only readers are specialists.

Don’t talk about ‘buy in’ where simply ‘money’ will do. Saying ‘synergy’ automatically makes you look like a corporate tool, so just say ‘cooperation’ instead.

In fact readers complain about jargon more than any other writing fault – writers often fail to realise that such terms they might be meaningless to their audience.

My number one tip to avoid this is to think like your customers – what are they looking for when reading your copy or watching your video? What words do THEY use?

One technique is to imagine you are explaining it to your gran, or someone else from a completely different background to you. Will they understand what you’re saying?

You also need to be very careful about your use of acronyms. By using an acronym without explaining what it stands for you assume a level of knowledge that your reader or viewer may not have. Even something like ‘SEO’ might seem like everyday language to you – but will your audience definitely know it stands for search engine optimisation?

Content marketing is a communication game. Clever wording works when it’s original, fresh and easy to understand but unless you’re marketing to only specialists in your industry, you should be avoiding jargon at all costs.


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