Take Your Text from Jargon to Cliché to Your Brand Voice

I have a problem with jargon. Many businesses think that using a lot of industry-specific terminology in their marketing materials makes them sound more impressive.

“Pimp your SEO for killer ROIs!”

But it doesn’t make you sound impressive. It sounds fake. It sounds like one of any number of jargon-spewing social media accounts I see out there featuring some 20-something guy in a suit standing next to an expensive car and claiming to make six figures per month.

Of course, if you’re in that industry, you need to know what those terms mean, but when you are reaching out to potential customers, they want to know how they will feel after working with you – in terms that sound like they are coming from YOU and not from some generic “insert industry here”-marketing bot.

How do you move beyond the jargon to find the voice of your business brand?

You may be tempted to swing the pendulum from jargon over to really simple catch phrases or clichés, but that’s also not the solution.

“Get more bang for your buck by maximizing your visibility!”

Okaaaaayyyyy… but this still doesn’t offer me a glimpse of the person behind the marketing slogans.

You want to figure out how YOU would say this. Use YOUR own words, and not the words that so many others use on social media. Experiment! Try out different phrasings and words.

Think about how you explain your services or products to a customer. What are the words you find yourself using over and over again. What words seemed to resonate most with your five most recent customers?

Here are two exercises to get you closer to finding your brand voice.

Exercise 1:

Analyze the websites of five of your competitors. Note how they describe what they do. What words and phrases do they use? Are there any words and phrases they ALL use or have in common? How can you phrase your texts to stand out?

Exercise 2:

Mine your website and blog text for clichés. Here are some examples:

  • “the last straw”
  • “Stay calm and _________”
  • “What matters most”

There’s a great listing at http://www.clichelist.net/ if you want to see more. What you can do is to take a cliché and flip it or transform it into something unexpected that makes someone read your text a bit deeper. For example, my client Sabine wrote a blog post that is all about how life IS like a “bed of roses.” She took the cliché “Life is no bed of roses” and turned it around.

The point of these exercises is to make you think about the words you are using to market your business. Are they your words, or someone else’s?

The closer you can get to your brand voice, the more memorable you will be for your unique perspective in your industry.

Jargon to Cliche