As a content marketer, I am sure you get bombarded with tools, blog posts, and a bevy of messaging. Sometimes, you understand the story, or the product, but be honest, most of the time you get up from the conference, the client pitch or your desk and feel like what the heck just happened.
Now imagine for a second how your audience feels when they read some of the content or messaging that you are putting out. Let that sink in for a second. Bam! The same way.
We are all bombarded with terms, jargon and catch phrases that make us completely crazy. Truth be told, if we're all using the same language, then guess what? We all start to sound the same. It's definitely harder to cut through, when everyone's positioning statement or product offering is basically the same and the only nuance is the positioning of the words.
I've spent a long time in jargon infested waters. I actually had one boss once tell me to change what I was telling him into words that he understood. By the way, those words weren't plain english, he wanted me to relate my story into jargon from the industry we were working in. So in that moment, I became a jargon to jargon dictionary. Try that on Google Translate.
I think there are a few tips you might want to consider when crafting your message, so that you avoid the pitfalls of sounding just like everyone else. These are by the way in no particular order, except for the last one.
1) Keep it simple
No, seriously. Do it. The best storytellers, the ones that you remember, are able to deliver their message plainly, using real examples. I always go back to songs of our childhood. I know how a bus moves forward, because the wheels on the bus go round and round. Sure there is way more to it, but frankly I don't care about the inner workings of a vehicle, just like your audience doesn't likely care whats under your sophisticated technology. You need to keep it simple and relatable. If your ten year old nephew can understand the pitch, so will your audience.
2) Say no to jargon
I was doing a pitch a few weeks ago, and I fell into the trap of using way too much jargon. I actually stepped away for a second, and apologized for sounding too much like the TV show "Silicon Valley" and then went back to the pitch using normal speak. I think the room laughed and appreciated that I mocked myself and the ridiculousness of how I sounded and was able to continue being more human.
3) This isn't rocket science
While I appreciate the hard work of rocket scientists, brain surgeons and people whose jobs and titles I couldn't understand, we likely aren't those people. People of that echelon need to use more sophisticated language in their daily routines because frankly, in most cases there are no other words to describe flux capacitors or some horrible disease. We aren't those people, and so again, I beg of you, to stop using language that makes you sound smarter than everyone else in the room.
4) Be sincere
By burying yourself or your message in language your audience doesn't understand, you actually don't come across as sincere, approachable or someone open to doing business. Sometimes that stuffy language and approach can seem arrogant, or worse, might completely miss the mark. That's not likely how you want to represent yourself or your brand.
5) Be yourself
We all have our own cadence, rhythm and style, and you need to find yours. I'd suggest that this is always a work in progress, and I am always thinking about the language I use, particularly in the context of discussing what I do on a daily basis, and how I talk to my colleagues, clients etc. At the end of the day though, I am 100% me.
6) Know the audience
Know who your audience is. Whether you are writing for them or speaking to them, be sure to craft your message in an appropriate way. You can still do that by the way, without using jargon or sophisticated terms, while appreciating how they might interpret what you are saying.
7) Listen/Watch/Read others
If you're cognizant of the first 6 items on this list, this one is a must. As you become more clear on how you are writing or delivering your message or content, listen, watch or read how others are doing it. You are bound to pick up some great tips watching and reading others.
I'm sure there are many other things you can do help craft your message, or the content you produce. I think the over arching theme though is to provide enthusiastic, real, audience appropriate content that is sincere, thoughtful and memorable.