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  • Writer's pictureJulia Bailey

I'm tired of word salad and alphabet soup. I crave clarity.

I've always been a proponent of simple, clear language—even when writing about the most complicated subjects.

I'll never forget a meeting at a client's office during which the CTO of the company blurted out "I crave clarity!" I loved him for that, since the marketing director, who was ostensibly helping us understand our responsibilities for an upcoming project, was instead confusing us, talking in circles and using sentences crammed with word salads so dense they were virtually incomprehensible.

Now there's research that proves that B2B audiences crave clarity, too.

In a recent Content Marketing Institute webinar, "Clarity in B2B Marketing: A Competitive Advantage," Lacey Reichwald from Aha Media Group described how a recent survey of B2B healthcare professionals demonstrated that they prefer plain language—and how important it is in the purchasing process.

She explained how, when presented with examples of B2B content found "in the wild" and examples of content written in "plain language," 80% of the respondents indicated that they were more likely to respond to the call to action in the plain language versions. The research concluded that clear messaging is actually a competitive advantage that could lead to a 73% increase in demo scheduling and a 68% boost in white paper downloads.

Jargon and industry acronyms don't make you sound smart

B2B content writers are often afraid to use plain language, thinking that their sophisticated audiences will only respond to content that employs industry-specific jargon and buzzwords. On the contrary, they prefer language that gets to the point and helps them find what they need, understand it, and use it. Another survey by Bospar and Propeller Insights came to a similar, albeit more disturbing conclusion: The use of marketing cliches and overused buzzwords actively erodes trust and credibility.

A subset of this issue is how the overuse of acronyms can also obfuscate and create confusion, complicating messaging when the use of clear and accessible language is critical. Veteran copywriter Bob Bly said it best: "Overuse of arcane jargon, little-known acronyms, and unfamiliar abbreviations can stop your readers in their tracks—and not in a desirable way."

Here's a great example shared during the webinar that demonstrates why using plain language can be extremely effective and is simply a superior way to communicate ...

So, how can we make sure we're developing the "plain language" content that B2B buyers crave?

Following are some of the suggestions offered in the webinar:

  • Use active voice, wherever possible, and short sentences that are easier to read.

  • Cut out unnecessary words. Lacey recommends that writers be ruthless in editing their content, using a virtual red pen to take out adjectives and adverbs. "Too many words make readers shut down."

  • Be conversational.

  • Make use of video, audio, images, infographics—anything that can help make your content more clear and easy to understand.

  • And, when it comes to your call to action, always make it clear what will happen when the reader clicks on it—"Download the White Paper" or "Request a demo."

Learn more about aha media and how you can make sure you can make sure you gain the competitive advantage that clarity brings to your business here.

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