Prematics. MRO. Abrasives. Predictive maintenance.
Would you use any of these terms outside of work? Of course not. Or, if you did, you would do so carefully, because they are industry jargon.
Oftentimes, the term “jargon” does not illicit positive emotions. The word implies that which is not easily understood; it is defined in part as “the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group.”
The use of uncommon terminology varies between companies and industries, and is used often enough to make jargon a part of the everyday lives of many professionals. At the same time, we are taught to avoid dropping jargon outside of work as much as possible, to prevent confusion about our messaging and the appearance of condescension toward anyone who is unfamiliar with the terms.
What you may not realize, however, is that jargon — though it may be confusing and even frustrating at times — is in some ways, a good thing. When utilized correctly, it can actually augment your content strategy.
Since a large part of a content strategy consists of various written materials, the practice of using jargon may give you a distinct advantage over your competitors. Placed judiciously in the proper context, both in printed and online documents, jargon can effectively establish your business as a trusted knowledge leader in the manufacturing industry.
Our company, ESP/SurgeX, often uses the electrical industry’s jargon to help us better communicate to current and potential clients about our premium energy management and power protection solutions. We incorporate this jargon into our content strategy. For example, we’ve found that social media sites and blogs provide convenient places to discuss some of these uncommon terms.
The manufacturing industry certainly has jargon of its own, and using it can be beneficial, especially when used in combination with social media sites and blogs. This post will discuss how jargon can assist with your content strategy and will provide a few tips on expanding your vocabulary so you can better incorporate jargon into your written material.
Why Use Jargon?
Words can be viewed as building materials, but instead of crafting monuments and towers, we are assembling ideas, stories and mental constructs when we write. With these materials, we can build up or tear down — we can confuse or enlighten.
As the possibilities are endless, writing quality content from a professional standpoint is so important. We want the message we send to benefit our companies (or clients) and convey complex messages in multiple ways, ranging from the astute, academic tone of technical documents, to the fun, relaxed language often found in blog posts.
Each new term you learn and can utilize allows you to have another piece with which to build. Learning jargon, in essence, adds to your ability to create. And since thriving content strategies are dependent on one’s ability to consistently create quality material, it is essential to expand your vocabulary. This, of course, is easier said than done.
Tips on How to Utilize Jargon Effectively
1. Insert your jargon in material in a sensible manner. For example, if you are writing about hints for best maintenance practices, it makes sense, as a time-saver, to define what “MRO” stands for and its meaning up front, so that you can use “MRO” frequently throughout the rest of your document. Since jargon is not the focus of the article or blog, briefly mention it with context — “For checking on your facility’s voltage, we will be using a measure device called an oscilloscope. You may hear us call it a scope as well.”
2. Let your clients know of the latest industry jargon, to both show you are keeping up with trends in your business and sharing that knowledge with them.
3. Present this information in a straightforward manner, without being pretentious or patronizing. State something like, “The latest innovation we feel is applicable to many of our customers is …” and install the jargon with its definition there. This is an excellent process to introduce new ideas as well. Avoid jargon overkill.
Too many acronyms without context creates what is known informally as “alphabet soup,” and while too many new words may not have its own nickname, it does make it harder to digest. If you are employing more than three jargon terms in a blog or article, chances are a layperson reader will be confused. So, make sure you are installing only what jargon is needed and making full use of it. The advantage of doing this, particularly if it is online, is that you can link back to that article as a reference source for people who want to learn more about the jargon term.
Employing jargon wisely can become an opportunity to sell your business more effectively. Just as you utilize specific parts to assemble quality products, you can achieve the same success through carefully chosen jargon terms to assemble quality content.