Buzzwords, acronyms, jargon; if your writing for the web is failing to engage, doublespeak could be the cause.
Do you know what a mindshare is? Have you stumbled across the word hyperlocal and wondered what it meant? What about rightshoring? Are any of these words and phrases part of your vocabulary? Have you used buzzwords like these when communicating with your clients, colleagues or customers?
These trendy words might be useful on occasion. They might lift us emotionally. They might feed our need to belong, or soothe our fragile egos. But when used inappropriately, buzzwords only confuse and alienate the reader.
And that’s exactly what makes them toxic; as toxic as the lollies we hankered for when we were kids. Or the excess wine we drink to numb the pain at the end of a disastrous day. And when the ‘high’ from the trip fades, all we’re left with are rotten teeth, a hangover, or a stream of lost and disaffected readers.
‘Used inappropriately this type of content is less that worthless, it may even prove poisonous.’
So ask yourself if obscure terminology is harming your business. Think carefully about your readership. Are you certain they’ll understand the meaning of ROI? Will they really know what upselling or drilling down is? Do they absolutely understand your reference to wellness or organic reach? And if they don’t, how does that make them feel?
Yes, your readers can search for the definition or ask a colleague but was that your aim? And if your readers do make the effort to check the dictionary there’s a chance they’ll be diverted elsewhere in the process and never make it back to you.
Don’t give your precious, hard-earned readership a reason to move on. After all, your goal is to keep them, engross them and convert them into customers for their benefit and yours.
So consider your readers. Embrace them, be humble, respectful. If you must use acronyms and jargon – and they do have their place – make sure you explain their meaning.
Now what do you think? I know I’ve been tempted to use buzzwords. Have you? Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end yourself in web content or blog posts? How did it make you feel? What did it make you do? Share your experience in the comments section below.