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The Gobbledygook Manifesto

Does your company or your client’s company produce a widget that is absolutely unique, highly unusual, cutting edge, user-friendly or groundbreaking? Well, the product or service in question just may be truly amazing, but the fact that those are the words being used to describe it, make it anything but unusual. In fact, it’s highly usual.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, using “gobbledygook” words and phrases to describe the features of your product or service especially if you are writing business or technology-related marketing and press materials. Now that much of what we produce is on the Web, and accessible by anyone, it has become increasingly important to cut the jargon, or gobbledygook, and use the space and limited time in front of your audience to address the specific problems your product solves in their language. This goes for press releases too. Let your buyers know how your product or service will help them.

David Meerman Scott dubbed the term “gobbledygook” to describe the often overused jargon so many of us use in our communications. As a test, Scott recommends substituting the name of a competitor and its products or services for your own in your written marketing materials. If it still makes sense using your competition’s name, it’s not effective. Your marketing language should never be interchangeable with that of a competitor. Think about it – you’re essentially replaceable by your competition if you use that method. You haven’t clearly defined how you will help your client and why you are the best choice for them.

When writing your marketing or press materials, Scott also suggests starting with your buyer, not the product. Create a buyer persona and figure out what it is they want and need. I would also suggest using the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method – in other words ditch the technical jargon and write in terms that resonate with your audience, not the select group of company physicists who created the widget.

Remember the time you have in front of your audience is valuable, but fleeting. Engage them by describing what problem you or your organization is going to fix for them. A useful tool to help you get started is the Gobbledygook Grader, created by HubSpot and David Meerman Scott. Also check out Scott’s Gobbledygook Manifesto and blog.

Now go out there and introduce your “next generation,” “cutting edge,” “unique” product to the world.

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