I’m on a mission to ban boring business jargon.
As a B2B marketer, I read a lot of business writing. My content marketing clients at Rep Cap are in technical industries like insurance, web development, healthcare, software and analytics. When I’m looking for information and inspiration about these industries, I find that the best content is approachable, friendly and easy to read.
Creating accessible B2B content is hard to do.
Instead, it’s very easy to write technical, jargon-filled content about B2B topics like insurance or software, especially when you’re writing about your own company’s processes and solutions. So, how can B2B marketers shelve the unfriendly, insider jargon and create fresh, readable content? I’ve got five tips.
5 tips for writing jargon-free B2B content:
- Read your writing out loud. This is one of the oldest writing tricks in the book, because it works. If you have to pause to breathe when you’re reading a sentence (or start a sentence again because you’ve lost the meaning), it’s too long. Shorten and simplify.
- Pretend you’re giving a speech. Here’s a good test: Would someone want to listen to you give a 30-minute presentation using the content that you’ve written? If you couldn’t keep someone’s attention in person, they’re not going to read your online article or blog post to the end. Strip the meaningless buzzwords and add stories, examples and fresh tips to keep your reader’s attention.
- Swap buzzwords for stories. When you’ve finished a draft of an email or a blog post, read through for corporate lingo and industry buzzwords. If you’ve included jargon like acronyms, internal product names or convoluted employee titles, consider how you could strike the buzzwords and replace them with meaningful stories. An example: If you’re writing a case study about how your new client found success with your software product, focus on their challenge and the results you delivered. Remove boring titles, acronyms, and long product names — your reader is looking for the story, not the internal corporate structure and process.
- Take a break. If you’re feeling stuck, put your writing aside and come back to it the next day. Even the most experienced writers benefit from taking a break and revisiting their work with a fresh perspective. To do creative work well, you need to give yourself time and space to think. At Rep Cap, we’re big on taking breaks and it’s boosted our work.
- Get editing help. Show your draft to someone who is unfamiliar with your brand (and even your industry). Unless you’re writing a technical manual, most content marketing shouldn’t make the average educated reader say “Huh?”
Finally, when I’m stuck on a really technical or difficult-to-explain topic, I look for inspiration to recharge my work. Be on the lookout for content in your industry or in similar industries that is easy to read and friendly. Study the style and use what you learn in your own writing. For more tips, read my previous post on cutting jargon, where I define the two common types of jargon and how to avoid them.