Marketing jargon WTF


The world of copywriting used to be simple.

A client got in touch, gave a brief, research was done, and an initial draft was written. The only annoying question asked (from a copywriter’s perspective) was ‘have you written something similar before because we want someone with experience in our industry.’

Today, its ‘what’s your experience in marcomms/UI/UX/ATF/BTF writing?’

In both cases, my answer is the same. To write effectively, I need to understand your goals, the wants and needs of your customers and the channel through which the content is to be delivered.

I am a professional copywriter, which means I understand (and have proven time and time again) how to write for commercial purposes. The industry is secondary – and no, I don’t need experience in your field to write about it.

Granted, the form the copy will take will impact how it is written, but primarily, the creation process follows the same format.

Marketing-speak is a justification for charging more

Professionals love jargon. It’s a great way of keeping their average Joe client in the dark. Whatever they tell you sounds so complicated; you’ll do anything to get them to take care of everything for you.

I am a professional, but I hate jargon. I write for a living. It’s straightforward; I learn about your business, adopt your brand personality, understand your goals, find out your customers and what keeps them awake at night, and then I write sales content that converts visitors into paying customers.

Oh, I also know how to employ SEO techniques to help drive traffic to your website.

That’s the same process whether you ask for Marcomms (marketing communications), UI copy (User Interface copy), UX (User Experience copy), ATF (above the fold), BTF (below the fold), articles, web copy, brochure content or any other form of content.

Never ask for specific experience

Let me ask you this, if you were looking for a builder to construct an extension on your house, would you only use one that has built the exact thing for someone else? If you need a solicitor, would you search until you found someone who’d dealt with the same case? If you were looking for a mechanic, would you only use one that’s worked on your car’s exact make and model before?

No, you would not. Your intellect would tell you that these people are experts in their field and will do what you ask.

In that case, why do you insist on seeking a copywriter who has written exactly what you want for someone else? You’re not going to get original thinking that way. Their brain is already, subconsciously tuned into a certain way of writing for your industry, so you’ll end up with the same kind of thing your competitors are writing. And before you say anything, that’s a bad thing because you need to stand out, not blend in.

Use that same intellect when looking for a copywriter. It’s more important to look at the range of writing they have done in the past. This will highlight their ability to take on different personas when writing. That way you know you’ll receive content that’s tailored specifically to your brand and goals.

Forget the jargon and forget looking for a copycat writer.  Go for someone who is a genuinely talented writer.

Sally Ormond works with global brands helping them to cut through the b******t and concentrate on creating brand-specific copy that works.