I eagerly downloaded and printed a 30-page Special Report from a well-known blogger. Highlighter pen in hand, I began reading, expecting to find many nuggets. I did do a lot of underlining, but not the things the author hoped I’d highlight.
Instead, I marked 10 words and phrases the author used repeatedly. Here they are, followed by my translation of each:
1. Leverage (used as a verb) – Make something work to your advantage so you can earn more money.
2. Incentivize – Entice people to buy something.
3. Merchandize (used as a verb) – Sell something.
4. Monetize – Make money.
5. Generate leads – Find people willing to give you their money.
6. Revenue streams – Make money multiple ways.
7. Repurpose – Recycle something you’ve already developed and sell it to a different audience (see revenue streams)
8. Exploit – Use to your fullest advantage.
9. Thought leader – Charismatic personality who isn’t afraid to talk about his/her creative ideas in public.
10. Entrepreneurial opportunity – Creative way to make money.
Thirty pages of drivel can be summed up in 91 words:
Come up with one great idea that people want. Sell it. (If people don’t know they want it, convince them they do.)
When you become successful (i.e., wealthy and famous), recycle a variation of your original idea and sell it to others who don’t realize they want it. When you become really successful, hire others to do the drudge work for you so you can continue inventing new stuff and convincing people they can’t live without it.
Want to learn how to do this? Sign up for my expensive online course.
Thirty pages of marketing industry jargon, from a writer who constantly preaches, “Write powerfully. Use strong verbs. Use strong nouns.”
It’s easy to fall into the jargon trap, isn’t it? Every profession has its own jargon – words, phrases, and acronyms that roll off the tongue and onto the page before we think twice – terminology that sounds like a foreign language to people outside our industry.
The phrases I highlighted in the report are also euphemisms – words that substitute for concrete, descriptive words. Monetize sounds flashier and more impressive than make money.
But make money is the author’s sole goal in writing and distributing this report. Why is he afraid to tell us that? Everyone who downloads a special report knows it’ll contain a sales pitch. But we also expect to get value from the report itself – an inspiring thought or a practical idea.
When we use jargon and euphemisms to disguise the true purpose of our communication, we dilute its effectiveness.
Let’s challenge each other to eliminate industry jargon from our writing and speech:
- Make a list of 10 words and phrases specific to your niche that could be construed as jargon or euphemisms.
- Share your favorites (or least favorites) with us.
- Vow to become aware of how those words slip effortlessly into your vocabulary.
- Every time you notice jargon, axe it from your blog post, e-zine, special report, book chapter, or speech.
Tell it like it is. Simple. Plain. Unadulterated.
…and yes, you have my permission to point out when I’m using jargon!