Plain English PR, Or Why Marketing Constructs Suck


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Plain English PR, Or Why Marketing Constructs Suck

I have a news flash that shouldn’t be one: potential customers want to know what you do, how you can help them, and why your product is better than the competition’s. The job of your PR and marketing teams is to tell them. It is not to make up trademarked terms or meaningless catchphrases that allow you to blather without saying anything informative.

We all have our list of terms we’ve read one (or ten) too many times; mine includes “solutions,” “synergistic,” “intelligence,” and a whole slew of acronyms. (I kid you not — I read a single sentence recently that used “ORM,” “RDBMS,” and “OOP.”) There’s a reason this kind of stuff makes your average reader stare in disbelief.

Namely, jargon makes it virtually impossible to distinguish the actually knowledgeable from the poseur. If I strongly recommend that you implement a synergistic OOP solution with intelligent RDBMS in order to maximize the value proposition of your platform, I’ve used more than a dozen words to communicate squat. Maybe it was the perfect answer to your problem, but the odds are that you won’t stick around long enough to find out.

For the highly technical, industry lingo can be a useful shorthand when communicating directly with other highly technical people. But for any outward facing communication, it’s just far too easy to obscure a mass of ignorance with a pile of complicated blather. You have to be able to switch gears and explain to the uninitiated what exactly it is that you do if you want to be heard outside your own corporate echo chamber.

A smarter man than most of us once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” And I wish more businesses would remember that. The more the tech community, in particular, grows — and the more startups there are competing for the VC honey jar — the more outlandish, grandiose, and deliberately techified self-descriptions I think we can expect. And the stand-out companies who get funded, get popular, and change the world will be the ones you can actually understand.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Schackai
Kate combines a technical understanding of web 2.0 with classic PR savvy, resulting in online communications that both humans and Google love. She joins Crawford from WordPress development firm TCWebsite, where she worked in online marketing and search engine optimization.


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