Something to think about…
Is it jargon?
A while back, I wrote about eradicating tech speak from your marketing efforts. Since then, I’ve spotted some well-meaning advice that says jargon can be useful. Is that right?
The definition of jargon is this –> “special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand”.
Regardless of what you class as jargon, the question you need to ask yourself is always the same: Who are you writing to?
Let’s say you’re writing about something simple like baking a cake. Your message will be different depending on who’s reading it:
- A budding chef wants to know every intricate detail about the ingredients you use, utensils to invest in, and the exact spec of the best oven that money can buy
- Someone like me who can’t bake for toffee just wants to know what I throw into the bowl and how long to cook it for so that it doesn’t burn
But there’s more to it than that.
- I might not be fit for Masterchef any time soon, but I still want the right tools for the job, and so I want to know you’re the authority on that
- But even the budding chef can bubble over if you give them too much information all at once or if you use words and terms they don’t understand
It’s a fine line between showing your reader that you know what you’re talking about and having them feel lost, confused, or — worse — bored by what you say.
The good news is, it’s easy to find out what your customer is ready to hear.
Next time you speak to someone who buys from you, or is thinking of buying from you, ask these questions:
- How did you feel before you found my product/service?
- What other options did you look at to solve the problem that you have?
- Do you have any reservations about using my product/service?
The answers to these kinds of questions reveal a lot about your audience.
If your customer uses highly technical language in their response, you can use it back to them — that’s not jargon, it’s an informed conversation.
If a potential customer already knows all of the buzzwords for your industry and who your competitors are, you can talk about more than just the basics — that’s not jargon, it’s sharing the lingo.
Now, this is where “jargon” comes into it…
– If your audience doesn’t use technical language when they talk to you
– If they don’t already use industry speak naturally in conversation
– Or if your reader is focused on the emotional benefits of using your product more than they are on the tech
Don’t use jargon.
Because although exclusive language can occasionally help to build rapport, those times are rare. So save it for your internal meetings and avoid alienating your reader.
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