Copy-wise: Buzzword bingo will hurt your content

November 24, 2016 11:00 am

This post was first published 18 March 2014.

You know what buzzword bingo is, right? Usually played in a meeting or conference where jargon, management speak and buzzwords are bandied about in place of real words that make sense.

Bingo

It can be a problem in the relatively new world of content marketing too. And it’s something that will switch your audience – and potential customers – off.

Journalism taught me to peel back layers of marketing and PR spin, industry jargon and three-letter acronyms to get to the heart of the content and give readers the real story.

It’s a skill every cub reporter learns early in his or her career – usually the hard way with an old school editor screaming that they’ll be sacked if the phrase ‘end-to-end solution’ ever appears in their copy again.

That same skill is something that helps us produce the most effective branded content.

It is understandable that marketing teams will be precious about the carefully crafted product names and campaign slogans that they have spent lots of time and money developing.

While that is fine for marketing and traditional advertising it usually doesn’t translate to content.

We have some straightforward advice. Don’t use language no-one else uses. In content marketing you must use accepted terminology that your audience already uses and understands.

One of my first editors always told me to use the test of imagining saying a line of copy out loud to someone in the pub over a beer. If you don’t sound natural then you need to change the tone and language. That’s not necessarily an analogy applicable to all types of copy but you get the idea.

Don’t let your content become a game of buzzword bingo. Lean towards your market – they won’t lean towards you.

This is one of the pillars of a content manifesto we have developed here at Collective Content, which we’ll be sharing more fully over coming weeks.
photo credit: sarae via photopin cc

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