Plain English Doesn’t Mean Dumbing Down

August 7th 2019       Sally Ormond       marketing copy, plain English
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Plain English is the only language you should use when creating marketing materials. 

That is my mantra, and I stand by it. 

Often, when people use a copywriter, they are under the false impression that the writer’s job is to make them (the client) appear intelligent. 

Wrong. 

You copywriter is working on your behalf, but their focus is on your audience.

Of course, they will still make you look good. However, not because your content is filled with multisyllabic words that force the reader to reach for their Thesaurus. 

You come out in a good light because your content ‘speaks’ to your reader. It’s easy to understand and engaging. It’s unambiguous and meaningful rather than being full of jargon and marketing-speak that means nothing. 

Clear explanations not teaching to suck eggs

The main problem is that because so many companies fill their websites, brochures, white papers, case studies, newsletters, and articles with jargon and marketing blurb, it gives the impression that that is what everyone should do. 

But that’s not the case. 

To stand apart from everyone else, you must use simple language that’s clear and compelling. 

Anyone who reads a website that’s entirely “market-leaders”, “state-of-the-art”, “customer-centric”, and all manner of other empty phrases is going to go elsewhere. They want to find a company that tells them straight; we do this… because it helps you by … making your life easier.

That’s all there is to it. 

Far from ‘dumbing down’ the subject matter, it makes it clear, vibrant, and refreshingly simple. It shows the reader you’re a company that puts them first. Not because you’ve specifically told them (“we are customer-centric”), but because you’ve demonstrated it clearly through your writing. 

Ditch the Thesaurus

Next time you write some copy, ditch your Thesaurus and write like a normal person. Also, if you’ve used a copywriter and are reviewing their initial draft, put your red pen down and read it as a customer would. 

If it’s simple, to the point, and highlights the benefits to give a compelling buying case, it’s spot on. The fact that the language and sentence construction is simple doesn’t mean it’s too basic. It means its spot on. 

Sally Ormond is a professional freelance copywriter who writes in simple English and only simple English. If you want her to create your content call +44(0) 1449 779605 or email [email protected]

Tags: marketing copy, plain English
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