The value of plain English
Jargon might seem like a guaranteed way to exert your authority about a subject, but in reality it complicates what could have otherwise been an engaging piece of content. It can also make readers feel disenfranchised and disconnected from a business, which can translate into lost sales.
The value of using plain English, especially in professional content strategies, cannot be underestimated – the following are some compelling reasons why not:
Jargon alienates the uninitiated
Using buzzwords might seem like a recipe for success, if your intended readership is exclusively made up of individuals in the same industry as you. People who understand the ins and outs and latest updates might be used to certain jargon phrases, but otherwise they will simply highlight the gaps in the reader’s knowledge, and in the worst way possible.
Nobody enjoys feeling uneducated or like they aren’t in on the joke, so why use overly complicated words and phrases that make your content sound as though it was edited by a thesaurus? Enough of the ‘blue sky thinking’ and ‘touching base’ – it’s time to stick to straightforward, well-punctuated and relevant information to retain focus and interest.
Keywords won’t get lost
If you’re looking to create content to promote or support your business, you’ll naturally be working to a set of SEO guidelines, including a list of pertinent keywords. These identifiable words and phrases will have been selected in a bid to boost your website’s rankings through organic inclusion in published materials, but jargon will swallow them and dilute their impact.
While jargon can be considered useful when used as a viable shortcut to the acquisition of technical information, in a B2B context for example, it is rarely a helpful tool for B2C content. Key search words and easy-to-read information are far more useful as indicators that a site is capable of answering a reader’s questions and needs.
Certain industries need to be matter of fact
There might be a few sectors that can make jargon work, perhaps in an ironic, fashionable way, but when it comes to the reliable transcription of vital information that affects everyday lives, buzzwords simply don’t cut it. Insurance copywriting, as a prime example, must not fall into the trap of using lazy jargon.
Consider the importance of insurance for a moment. In some cases, such as car insurance, it is a legal requirement and in others it is a delicate matter, such as life cover. In either instance, words and phrases that skirt around critical issues will be unhelpful, with clear information being far more preferable. Insurance policy jargon can also contribute to unsuccessful claims, due to misunderstandings, leaving customers in a difficult position when they are already vulnerable.
Wider audiences can be reached
For anyone looking to take an interest in a new topic, coming face-to-face with jargon is incredibly off-putting. If, for example, somebody wants to look into the viability of personal investments or taking some financial advice, a jargon-filled piece of content would prove instantly dismissive.
A better course of action is to forget the buzzwords and write as though everybody has the same amount of information – none. Keep everything factual, perfunctory and easy to digest and you’ll be surprised how much more receptive a wider audience is. You might also pique the interest of people who never knew they’d be interested in your business, just as a result of how accessible your content is.
Jargon isn’t something to aspire to, as it isn’t an indicator of industry knowledge. Those who can write with authority and without gimmicks are the ones to emulate, so streamline your content and watch your audience grow.