Effective, compelling, clear communication is not easy.
But you often need to convey a message specific to your organization that describes a certain complex process or technology. However, that doesn’t mean the description should take up several clunky paragraphs in your marketing materials.
Have you had difficulty getting stakeholders to agree to a version of your story to put in a datasheet? Have you tried describing everything you do at once using all that technical mumbo jumbo and not seeing the marketing results for which you’d hoped? Try a different strategy for translating your complex topics into marketable content for collateral and the web.
Rid your marketing of technical gobbledygook that turns off target audiences
First, ensure the person writing your materials has a clear understanding of your corporate vision, goals, target customers and messaging. This person also needs to be an effective copywriter with access to your key subject matter experts on the content about which he or she is writing. Someone well versed in interviewing subject matter experts, or SMEs, and translating their interview notes into a coherent narrative will create much more effective copy. This approach works much better than just having an editor clean up a SME’s original content, which may already be unsalvageable from the depths of the lingo underworld.
Once the core content is gathered, sorted and written in a logical manner, it’s time to make it even more reader-friendly. There are a number of ways to arrange content or write about technical subjects that present the information more plainly (read more about plain language):
- Use analogies to tell a story from a perspective that will resonate with stakeholders and get your materials read cover to cover.
- Illustrative images also make the perfect accompaniment for a compelling tale covering a difficult topic. Many people learn visually.
- Infographics take the visuals a step further by directly intertwining data and presentation method to show relationships and trends in interesting ways.
- Use a more common term than the jargony one whenever available.
- Provide a layman’s explanation for technical terms when a substitution just isn’t available.
- Don’t oversell with too much detail — you want just enough high-level information in your materials to generate a more in-depth conversation.
- Incorporate only one call to action per piece or main content area. Keep it simple.
- Even the way you format content — no matter how plain language — can look too complex to readers. Avoid huge blocks of text. Break things up with headlines, subheads, sidebars, bullets and plenty of space. Use shorter paragraphs and sentences.
Make any complicated topic more relatable to your audiences by using these tips. Making complexity clear removes at least one major barrier to entry for those among whom you want to drive action.
Image courtesy Flickr user Hajo S