Corporate Speak vs Natural Language: Finding and Aligning Your Voice

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Corporate Speak vs Natural Language: Finding and Aligning Your Voice

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This presentation is about language that reeks – and how to take out the #&%@$. People have read so much nonsense that they’re becoming immune to marketing. Powerful words like “powerful” have lost......

This presentation is about language that reeks – and how to take out the #&%@$. People have read so much nonsense that they’re becoming immune to marketing. Powerful words like “powerful” have lost their power – thanks to the drone of corporate language. Let’s take out the buzzwords and jargon. Write shorter, simpler sentences. Talk human instead of corporate. And let’s show your bosses how better language is better for business.

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  • The Nielsen/Norman people also studied how people look at web pages. What they learned is that 79% of web users scan and only 16% read. (However, we don’t know if the readers are the ones who are most interested, or if that’s just the way they interact with all web content.)These are “heat maps,” and they show the results of eye tracking studies that record how people actually look at web pages. The reddest areas are the ones that are viewed the most.They discovered that people tend to scan in an “F” pattern, which you can vaguely see. The left-hand image shows the heat map for an “About Us” page; and on the right is a product page.These heat maps should guide you on where to place your most important content – and where you need to invest the greatest effort.

Transcript

  • 1. Great Language Feels Good, Works Good Too PG Bartlett 12 July 2013
  • 2. My Groundhog Day Surprise… “We need a new voice”
  • 3. Why?  Buyers rely on content for 70%-100% of their process  “We sound the same as our competitors” – Stuffy, boastful windbags  “Even our fans criticize our #$%@& content”
  • 4. So what? “Our language is hurting our business”
  • 5. What they did Hired consultant (thewriter.com) to help them:  Define their voice  Develop before-after examples  And train their people
  • 6. Results so far …
  • 7. How would you measure results?  Impact on language: metrics?  Impact on activity: – Web traffic – Support calls  Impact on business: – Revenue? – Satisfaction?  Something else?
  • 8. Third-party research All: +124% Concise: + 58% Scanable: +47% Objective: +27% “Users detest marketese” http://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-users-read-on-the-web/
  • 9. Language Matters!  We knew it  Our contacts at our customers knew it  And maybe we can get executives to know it too
  • 10. We Decided to Humanize Our Own Content Our action plan:  Define our voice  Rewrite our website  Modify our software
  • 11. Define Our Voice
  • 12. Start with the end: audiences & goals People who love language Their bosses • Connect • Motivate • Educate • Follow our example • Language matters to their business • How we can help • Follow our example
  • 13. Our new voice But what good is it if you can’t find it?
  • 14. Taboos  Buzzword-laden  Jargon-filled  Complicated  Boastful  Equivocal  Impersonal  Long-winded  Irrelevant  Unapproachable (walls of text)
  • 15. What makes a web page good?  Scanable text  Highlighted keywords  Meaningful sub-heads (not “clever”)  Bulleted lists  One idea per paragraph  Start with conclusion  Half the words http://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-users-read-on-the-web/
  • 16. Scanning – NOT Reading http://www.nngroup.com/articles/f-shaped-pattern-reading-web-content/
  • 17. Rewrite Our Website
  • 18. acrolinx.com: Before & After www.acrolinx.com
  • 19. Does Great Grammar = Great Language?
  • 20. http://www.wimp.com/frylanguage/
  • 21. Change Our Software
  • 22. Measuring Dimensions of Voice
  • 23. Trend or blip?
  • 24. Content Marketing Every key measurement depends on good content.
  • 25. http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34080/Why-Marketers-Need-to-Rise-Above-the-Deluge-of-Crappy-Content.aspx
  • 26. What Happens When Volume of Crap Soars? Better language will matter more than ever
  • 27. So what did I learn?  Executives may start realizing language’s power  In deluge of crappy content, language matters more than ever  Content strategy includes: – “Right voice”
  • 28. What problems remain?  Assessing scale of problem  Internal alignment  Voice definition  Remain distinctive  Localization  Measurements
  • 29. PG.Bartlett@acrolinx.com