Kick out the jargon and give plain English PR a hug – your audience will thank you for it

How much bandwidth have you got today? Have you climbed the strategic staircase for a helicopter view of the situation? Or maybe just taken an idea shower?

Maybe you’re just wondering what exactly all that means, or if David Brent is writing this.

Tech jargon, corporate buzzwords, office slang – however you want to describe it – it’s everywhere. Despite the good intentions of the writer, it’s guaranteed to make readers cry with despair at having to decipher exactly what it is you’re trying to say.

While it may be natural for us to use jargon and acronyms when emailing colleagues or chatting in the office, lots of specialised jargon isn’t the best way to get your point across to your target audience. In fact, it’s likely to turn a lot of readers off.

In tech and gaming PR the problem can quickly multiply with every new product, service or development given a new name or acronym. It can sometimes feel like the gap between language used in the tech world and language used in the real world is growing every day.

Here’s what we can do about it.

Welcome to the Internet

The Internet has a lot to answer for, to put it mildly. But to stay on topic, one thing that has changed drastically is that we now consume most of our content online and through a screen. This has in turn changed reading behaviour, and those changes apply to the world of tech PR too:

  • Readers, including your target audience and journalists in your industry, will scan content first rather than reading everything
  • Reading from a screen takes longer than reading from paper
  • Every article, post and press release must compete with countless others for the reader’s attention
  • No one has the time to decipher jargon. They will simply move on to the next article or press release and you will have missed your chance

Adapting to this new reading behaviour sounds like a daunting task, right? Well, it really isn’t. It’s simple. Literally, the answer is to use simple words. Say what you mean, be clear and concise, and your audience will thank you for it and be more likely to engage.

An easy to way to get into this mindset is to imagine you are having a direct conversation with your target reader, who is not necessarily an expert in your field.

We often choose simple words when speaking rather than writing, so just imagine what you would say – you probably wouldn’t tell them that you’ve taken a deep dive and pivoted to a new synergistic approach. Or at least we hope you wouldn’t.

Features or benefits?

Jargon is defined as “special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand.”

So, using simple words to get a point across in tech PR is one thing, but you still need to choose the right words to connect best with your target audience.

It often comes down to a battle between features and benefits. A choice between factual statements about a product or service, versus explaining why your product or service is valuable or newsworthy.

When possible, we recommend focussing on benefits. It often answers the follow up question that all readers have about a new product or service: “What’s in it for me?”

If you can answer this question in plain English, then you’re already taking steps towards creating content that is easier to digest and engage with.

Knowing me, knowing you

Despite everything you’ve just read, there are occasions when it is appropriate to use well-known terms – especially if they have already begun to make a mark on the public, or if the shorthand is better known. For example:

  • IoT (Internet of Things)
  • FPS (First Person Shooter)
  • RPG (Role Playing Game) (and don’t forget MMORPG – Massively multiplayer online role-playing game!)
  • NFC (Near Field Communication)

When you’re preparing tech or gaming PR content, it all comes down to the journalist(s) you’re approaching and their audience.

If a reporter is having a tough time understanding you, then there’s little chance they will be able to explain why you’re important to their own readers. That means you’ll end up in their junk folder, and your chances of getting out anytime soon are slim.

Don’t feel that simplicity will hold you back. We’ve seen plenty of examples where simple messages have opened a goldmine of opportunity to offer further comment, and established businesses and spokespeople as leading voices in their field.
Simplicity shouldn’t be underestimated, so save the jargon for another day and start connecting with your audience!

If you’re struggling to define a message or find that your outreach isn’t getting anywhere with your target audience, give us a call or email and see how we can help boost your PR today.

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