It’s a metaphor.
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 also suggested that people who use “fancy words” were snooty, only doing so to impress. K, 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 incorrectly? 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 there wasn’t 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.)
Yes, excellent *claps hands* why place 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.
Because we SHOULD KNOW OUR FUCKING MARKET and as such, understand how they speak / think / take a shit.
(Yeah, I’m pissed off right now.)
You might agree that business content must be simple (by whose standards – I dunno) but that advice doesn’t tell the entire story.
(And if you want the entire story, keep reading.)
Avoid broad appeal like a child would Rolf Harris.
Trying to attract a broader audience is you selling to everyone.
Every advertising campaign, every marketing strategy has a target market. And not one person in those meetings is saying let’s make things as generic as possible.
The same thing applies to being funny.
Some folks don’t get (or like) my jokes.
And lots of people would prefer I avoid naughty words. My cultural references alienate certain generations. For example, not everyone knows who Rolf Harris is.
Being general is bad for SEO.
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.
So getting more people to notice you is only good if they’re YOUR people, yeah.
Learn to write business content like a psychopath.
Write without care or conscience to those who hate your copy.
They are dead to you.
Interestingly psychopaths that kill often target a specific group of people. They know their market.
I don’t want to attract those who think ‘arduous’ is a fancy word nor will I be keen to work with the humourless.
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.
Use the right language for your audience.
Understand the market you want to attract and write with them in mind. That takes work, serious research, time and money.
This also applies to jargon.
Unless you’re trying to reach an audience beyond your field, go ahead and use industry-based terms. Your content is for people who understand – not the great unwashed.
Your sales copy should NEVER be universal.
If you start to dumb down your content there might be other aspects of it that you feel you should change.
If you worry about causing offence, in the hopes that you’ll please more people, and therefore sell more products, 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.
Are you done with crusty ole business content? Sure you are, then hire me to get rid of your awful blurb. Click here to find out more.