Updated: Sep 1, 2019
Anyone for a game of Buzzword Bingo? Here goes…
Last week, I reached out to a colleague to socialise an idea with him. It was an opportunity to really push the envelope, to pick off some low hanging fruit and pivot our whole marketing strategy. I’d done a deep dive into our digital customer experience and found some synergies we could leverage to our advantage.
It’s all about digital disruption, you see. This isn’t a side hustle it’s about activating our brand in the digital marketplace. We’ve arranged to touch base again next week.
How many buzzwords did you spot?
I’ve used some god awful, often overused, sometimes completely misunderstood business buzzwords in those two paragraphs. Words and phrases I avoid like the plague in my copywriting. I’m sure, like me, you’ve been in business meetings cringing inwardly when someone drops the latest business buzzword bomb. I find it impossible to hear the word ‘pivot’ used as a verb without conjuring up that image of Ross from Friends trying to manoeuvre his sofa up the staircase!
When I asked for examples of business buzzwords on my social media feeds, I was inundated with replies. Some phrases I’d never even come across before. What on earth is Human 2 Human marketing? Surely that’s what all marketing is!
Why am I sharing this?
One simple reason: business buzzwords overcomplicate copy. Make the words on your website or in company literature easy for customers to understand. There’s no room for clichés or formulaic statements. You should use words your customers use (and will be searching for online).
It’s a well-known fact that you only have a few seconds to capture your audience’s attention online. It might be 7 seconds, it could be 5 seconds, it changes every week. However many seconds you have, that’s not very long! But it’s still enough time to turn someone off and send them to your competitor’s website. Capture them with the right words and they might well stick around and become one of your most loyal supporters.
A copywriter, like me, can help you with this.
Show off your knowledge in other ways
People often use buzzwords as a form of posturing in meetings. They believe speaking in this way makes them appear more powerful or gains them more respect. To me, the idea of ‘socialising’ a document makes me feel a bit queasy.
Don’t fall into the buzzword trap! There are so many other ways to showcase your knowledge and get people to notice you that won’t leave people feeling sick. Here are just a few to get you started:
Demonstrate results – pictures, figures, actual physical pieces of work
Write a blog – share what you know with potential customers – for free
Write a case study – show how you solved a problem and what happened afterwards
Gain customer testimonials – from people you’d like to work with again
Do a presentation – stand up and talk from the heart (without buzzwords)
Write an eBook – write your own words to connect with others
Answer questions – help people out on social media
To prove how effective simple words can be, here’s my ‘translated’ version of the opening two paragraphs. I hope you agree it's SO much easier to understand.
Last week, I shared an idea with a colleague. It was a chance to completely reinvent our marketing strategy. I’d been looking at how customers use our website, social media and email newsletters, and identified some areas for improvement.
It’s all about what the customer sees online. This isn’t a new thing; it’s about getting our company name in front of more customers. We’ve arranged to talk more about it next week.
I rest my case!
If you’d like to get any buzzwords off your chest, please ‘touch base’ in the comments below. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)