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Why you should avoid jargon in your company brochure

Posted 21st March 2017

Why you should avoid jargon in your company brochure

Picture the scene. You’re in the initial brochure design stages, and you know what you want to include. You need to produce the copy for the brochure so that your designer can lay up the pages and make everything look as appealing as possible.

You sit down and get writing. You find a brochure printing service and once the designer is finished with it, you send it off. You’ve had a run of 3000 brochures printed, and you’ve spent a lot of time and money getting everything right. But for some reason you’re not getting any leads. In fact, no one is picking up your brochure at all and you have absolutely no idea what you’ve done wrong. You’ve looked through it and everything looks helpful and interesting to you.

So, what have you done wrong?

A university lecturer might speak to graduates with a strong knowledge of the intricacies of psychoanalysis on a daily basis, and so they will use loaded words as a short hand. If the same lecturer is doing a trial seminar for prospective students, they might need to avoid these words, or explain them further.

It seems quite obvious why they’d need to adjust their language.

Jargon is technical language which is industry specific and can ruin your printed brochures. All industries have some words and acronyms which people outside that industry will not understand. Sometimes you might not even realise you’re using jargon. If you are around people who used the same kind of language as you every day, it’s easy to forget that others may not understand you.

Have you arranged brochure printing and then found your marketing is riddled with jargon?

Why shouldn’t I use jargon?

Some businesses are under the false belief that technical language will make them sound better, but this is rarely the case.

If your brochure is intended for someone outside your industry, you can’t assume they understand all your buzzwords. Above all jargon can be confusing, misleading and boring. If you make it difficult for people to understand you, they just won’t bother reading on. Covering the front of your brochure with jargon could prevent people from even picking it up.

You should never make your clients feel stupid. Just because they don’t know what all the words you throw around does not mean that they are ignorant. Don’t patronise them by using overly simplistic language, but don’t isolate them with unnecessary language choices. Getting the balance just right might sound difficult, but in practise it isn’t all that hard. Remember that the person your brochure is for may have no idea what your business is, so explain it simply, and use infographics for more complex concepts or to support ideas.

In some industries, new jargon emerges on what seems like a daily basis, so there is no way your clients would be able to keep up.

Some jargon is the sort of thing you might not even realise is jargon. This is where you’re most likely to trip up. You’ve been immersed in your industry for years, so the language associated with it just makes up part of your vocabulary. It’s not deliberate, but it can cause problems.

 

Keeping it simple

Speak to your target audience

Don’t assume you know what language your client uses. Talk to your current clients, and listen carefully to how they speak. If you use a word and it needs explaining, make a mental note not to use it in your brochure printing. If you accidently use difficult language in person you’ll be able to explain it, but you might not be there when your client looks through your brochure.  

Improve your writing

Being both concise and precise with your language will improve your writing. Writing is often described as being like a muscle. To make a muscle as effective as it can be it needs to be used and worked out. If you don’t write frequently you’ll find it harder to produce good copy than if you write every day. If you start out writing with good habits like concision, you’re more likely to continue to be concise as your writing improves.

Begin by writing out all the characteristics of your target market. This will allow you to write from their perspective, and keep the fact that they don’t use the same language as you fresh in your mind.

Avoid acronyms

Unless an acronym is really common place, don’t use it in your brochure. Acronyms are a bit of a minefield. Even if you think it’s obvious, there can sometimes be multiple means to an acronym so it can cause confusion.

Test your brochure

Some words which were considered jargon in the past have become a common part of everyone’s vocabulary, so you won’t be isolating anyone with it. Other words are very niche so they might not help anyone.

Show your copy to a few friends or family members who aren’t involved in your industry and make sure they understand every word. This can also double as part of your proofreading process so it’s a really important step.

Don’t forget to include a call to action, as this will let your clients know what that they should do next.

Time to send to print

Now you’ll be ready to send your brochure to print, for best prices give us a call. Or see our brochure printing service for more details.