Content is Currency

Developing Powerful Content
for Web and Mobile

by Jon Wuebben - Founder and CEO of Content Launch

How to De-Jargonize Your Web Content

Why You Should De-Jargonize – Avoiding Corporate Jargon with Content

Industry jargon and corporate gobbledygook are the not-so-silent killers of company websites and blogs. Everybody in the world seems to know this … except, seemingly, people responsible for publishing content.

If you want people to read your content and more importantly relate to it and act on it, you must speak their language, not yours. Jargon has an extremely negative impact on how content is received:

  • Jargon obscures your message.
  • Jargon makes your company seem aloof and unapproachable.

It follows, then, that getting rid of jargon will help your firm:

  • Clarify and strengthen your brand identity and value proposition.
  • Appear approachable and thereby increase leads and sales.

7 Ways to De-Jargonize

1. Have customers critique your content. Jargon results from too much inward thinking during the creative process. For creative shock therapy have clients scrutinize content on your home page, service pages and other key site content. Ask them what’s clear and what isn’t. You’ll receive excellent editorial guidance you can use to tune up these pages as well as many others. (It’s surprising how seldom firms actually do this.)

2. Have your sales team critique your content. If approaching customers for content review is too bold or impractical for your organization, getting input from your sales team works as well or better. Outstanding sales people have a superb feel for what type of messaging customers will respond to. Again, firms usually overlook this wonderful editorial resource that is right under their nose!

3. Add customers or sales reps to your content creation team. Perhaps the best de-jargonizing technique is to never let gobbledygook creep into your content to begin with. Customer and sales input help firms break the inward-focus hypnotic spell that tends to afflict marketers and executives.

4. Centralize and empower the editing function. A preponderance of jargon comes about (along with many other evils) when firms edit by committee. Having a single, strong editor with relentless customer focus is the best way to prevent wild corporate-speak pitches.

5. Create an editorial guidelines document. To an extent, jargon is hard to avoid when content is written in-house by people who are used to speaking in those terms. Help them break free by building a document that lists technical phrases and the preferred English translations. Over time this document will not only be an invaluable document for creative talent – it will make a fantastically effective web page as well!

6. Outsource content creation. One sure way to avoid jargon is to employ outside writers who have no familiarity with your technical language. The downside to this approach is when writers don’t understand the fundamentals of your business; making it work requires extensive communication and diligent editing.

7. Shift editorial focus from features to benefits. Shifting the entire focus of your website and blog from features to benefits is a sure way to cut jargon off at the knees: content focused on features is highly vulnerable to jargon-creep; content focused on benefits is naturally written from the customer’s point of view, in plain English. And by the way – doing a major edit of your web content in this spirit will yield significant sales and marketing benefits than go far beyond taking out the gobbledygook garbage!

Further Reading

This Content is Currency blog post was written by Brad Shorr, Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North, one of Chicago’s top SEO firms. They work with small and middle market firms in a variety of specialized niches, including payment gateways and safety hand gloves.











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