Do you ever read something and think, I’m sorry, what? I don’t just mean this post title but other stuff, on the socials and the like?
Sure you do.
Before I go into one, it’s right to acknowledge that different methods exist when it comes to writing business content. We’re entitled to voice our opinions on how to get from A to B with our copy (even if some of those opinions are bullshit).
We sure as hell won’t always agree.
You’ll watch marketing people play certain phrases on repeat, often without much thought as to what they really mean.
So, when I read a post that suggests the word ‘arduous’ is difficult to understand and that we should only use simple language to reach a broader audience, I’m like, what the actual fuck?
Who’s deciding this simple language?
Do we contact a local authority? Are we talking pre-schoolers or people who have learned English as a foreign language? I have many questions.
It was further suggested that people who use fancy words were snooty, only doing so to impress. Some might be I guess but I’m still reeling over the fact that ‘arduous’ is considered a fancy word.
Reeling is probably also out.
Jesus, I’m going to have to go through my entire blog – again.
Another stand-out example of fancy words was ‘irregardless’ and I must confess, I agree. Why use, ‘irregardless’ when ‘regardless’ will do.
Didn’t that become a word because so many people used it wrongly? Ah, the evolution of language.
The gist (is gist ok?) of said social media post was that you shouldn’t use words in your copy that you wouldn’t use in conversation.
The implication, (I looked for synonyms for ‘implication’ and they were all just as fancy. I also looked at synonyms for ‘synonym’ and they didn’t have one) that no one uses ‘arduous’ in a convo was hysterical (funny) to me. And only a person like Stephen Fry would dare to drop that doozy in casual chat.
I’ve been known to use ‘arduous’ out with friends and they didn’t once look at me blank or call me a fucking show off.
“Sales copy should be easy to understand”
Yes, excellent, why add obstacles in the way of people buying your shit.
Sales copy should certainly be clear in terms of what you’re asking of your audience. But that has nothing to do with using child-like language, remember, we’re also encouraged to ‘know our audience’.
You might agree that business content should be simple (by whose standards – I dunno) personally, I think that advice is whack.
A broader audience is you trying to sell to everyone.
Avoid broad appeal like a child would Rolf Harris
For example, competitive (broad) keywords attract more traffic but they convert to fewer sales. People get specific when they decide to buy. Having more eyes on your stuff is pointless if they don’t want it. Increased traffic is only great when it’s the right kind.
More on that here.
Learn to write business content like a psycho
Write without care or conscience to those who hate your copy.
They are dead to you.
And psychopath killers have a specific group of people they like to murder. They really know their target market.
I don’t want to attract people who think ‘arduous’ is a fancy word.
The words I use in my business content come naturally to me, that’s my writing (and speaking) style. It attracts my kind of people – educated, smart, immature, business owners who love sarky humour and swearing. My website is geared to those personality traits.
That doesn’t mean the organisations I work with always want those things for their business, it simply means they want to work with a like-minded individual, and one they’re going to enjoy the process with.
Use the right language for your audience
This also applies to jargon.
Unless you’re trying to reach a market outside your field, go ahead and use industry-based terms. Your content is for people who understand, not the great unwashed.
Your sales copy shouldn’t be universal
If I start to dumb down my content there might be other aspects of it that I feel I should change.
Some folks don’t get (or like) my jokes.
And most people would prefer I avoid naughty words. My cultural references alienate certain generations (for example, not everyone knows who Rolf Harris is).
If you start to strip your content down, trying to please more people, in fear of losing a lead, you’ll remove the things that make it unique. You’ll end up sounding like everyone else, not just in your industry but in business. And why would you want that? Stand out, irregardless of what the majority think.
Too lazy to learn to write your own business content? Want someone else to do it? Hit the button.