What do you mean? The art of creating jargon-free B2B tech copy

A t Fourth Day we’re well versed in the art of translation. And not just from one language to another. A fundamental part of good B2B tech PR is being able to translate complex, technical copy into words that people will be able to understand. Because far too often companies can get bogged down in unrelatable jargon. But it’s not just a problem in business.

Look at the UK’s current political ‘situation’. It has exposed us to endless hackneyed phrases and jargon that only serve to alienate. This is particularly true now that election fever is mounting. Just consider the word ‘Brexit’. First coined in an article for a think tank paper by Peter Wildling, a solicitor who advised the Tories on policy and media under David Cameron, the term has become so overused that even Wilding says he now regrets inventing it. So, what lessons can we learn from political jargon when it comes to articulating messages?

It’s important to remember that just because you understand a term, doesn’t mean everyone else will. The public has often been perplexed by the language used in politics over the last few years. From backstop and proroguing to no deal and article 50. This language has at times been confusing and disengaging. So much so that the BBC and other media outlets have created their very own Brexit jargon-busting guides to help readers.

Similar situations occur in the tech sector. Businesses often use esoteric language to explain their own products. But it’s unlikely your audience, the people you are selling to, will have time to reach for a jargon-busting guide. More often than not B2B buyers will not be techies, they are just looking for tools that will help them do their day job – and you need your message to resonate with them, on that level.

So if you want to avoid the UK government’s jargon-laden approach, and engage your audience rather than switch them off – here are our top 3 tips:

1. Don’t be scared to be creative

Gone are the days when B2B content was seen as cautious and conservative. Now B2B content covers everything from bylines and features to videos and podcasts. Being bold with your content choices gives you an opportunity to communicate your messages in fresh new ways – and project your brand’s personality. Brave decisions can reap big rewards. For example, PathFactory’s engaging and fun CGI video, showing how complex and colourful B2B buying journeys can be, is proof that a video can turn a complex, technical offer into a simple, visual story. Being creative can help make even the most technical subjects lively – which will in turn excite and engage your audience.

2. Remember you’re selling to fellow humans

There’s no reason why B2B brands can’t be as relevant and contemporary as their B2C cousins. Your product may be more intertwined to everyday life than you realise. As long as it’s appropriate, this allows you to have an opinion on things happening in popular culture – worth doing as these are the things people want to read about. For example, we recently secured one of our software clients comment on the use of VR in Black Mirror. You can bring your brand to life by being more connected to daily life and commenting on cultural developments.

3. Keep things simple

While we’re not big fans of the jargon used by government, politicians don’t always get it wrong. This is certainly true when it comes to getting a message across. Whether it’s “Brexit Means Brexit”, “no deal is better than a bad deal”, or even, dare we say it, “Make America Great Again”, simple messages do tend to resonate. The same principle can be applied to your messaging.

A common pitfall is for businesses to try and say so much they leave audiences not knowing what they should take away from it. Simple, clear messaging that articulates the main benefits clearly is often more effective.

By saying everything and nothing at the same time, or by relying too heavily on rhetoric and hyperbole, an organisation (or politician) will likely lose any goodwill they have with their audience.

Whether it is a newspaper quote, a radio interview or a press release, organisations must state their points clearly, but also offer information or opinions that are genuine and honest. It’s this that makes the information we ‘translate’ relatable to a wider audience. If only our political leaders could do the same.

The author

Jess is a Trainee Account Executive in the London office

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