Ease-of-understanding is crucial to effective content marketing and if there’s one thing that interferes with understanding, it’s jargon.
While the occasional use of jargon can be justified, our addiction to it cannot. Our overuse of jargon can be seen today even in a neutral business context. In a recent meeting, I made a note of some of the corporate jargon being bandied about – some favourites included: “we need to make two plus two equal five”, “that won’t play well in theatres” and “let’s open the kimono”.
Whether you work in technology or travel, finance or retail, jargon is ubiquitous - but why? In most cases, jargon is unhelpful and confusing for readers; it assumes a level of familiarity with your industry, or even your business, that they may lack. At best this means your content will make for less enjoyable reading, at worst it can dramatically reduce your audience.
Ultimately, jargon makes life easier for the writer, not the reader. When you’re discussing truly niche topics or industries, jargon can be useful shorthand, but you must explain terms when they’re first used. Failing to do this is pure laziness and will lower the value of your content.
We use jargon because it’s easy. It’s easy to repeat what we’ve heard, it’s easy to rely on shorthand and it’s easy to avoid the effort of actually explaining our ideas. Jargon is also a comfort blanket; it reinforces the fact we’re speaking to an in-group with shared values. Of course, that’s not ideal when you’re trying to reach new customers and change their minds.
If your business relies on the same jargon everyone else is using, why should your content stand out? Why should readers take the time to decode impenetrable copy? Why should customers engage in conversations filled with doublespeak?
If you want to create compelling content, it’s time to stop “leveraging”, “cross-pollinating”, or “seeking synergies” - and leave jargon at the door.
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel the same and are worried that your content marketing is a bit on the over-jargonised side!