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

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Great Language Feels Good, Works Good Too by PG Bartlett

  1. 1. Great Language Feels Good, Works Good Too PG Bartlett 12 July 2013
  2. 2. My Groundhog Day Surprise… “We need a new voice”
  3. 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. 4. So what? “Our language is hurting our business”
  5. 5. What they did Hired consultant (thewriter.com) to help them:  Define their voice  Develop before-after examples  And train their people
  6. 6. Results so far …
  7. 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. 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. 9. Language Matters!  We knew it  Our contacts at our customers knew it  And maybe we can get executives to know it too
  10. 10. We Decided to Humanize Our Own Content Our action plan:  Define our voice  Rewrite our website  Modify our software
  11. 11. Define Our Voice
  12. 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. 13. Our new voice But what good is it if you can’t find it?
  14. 14. Taboos  Buzzword-laden  Jargon-filled  Complicated  Boastful  Equivocal  Impersonal  Long-winded  Irrelevant  Unapproachable (walls of text)
  15. 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. 16. Scanning – NOT Reading http://www.nngroup.com/articles/f-shaped-pattern-reading-web-content/
  17. 17. Rewrite Our Website
  18. 18. acrolinx.com: Before & After www.acrolinx.com
  19. 19. Does Great Grammar = Great Language?
  20. 20. http://www.wimp.com/frylanguage/
  21. 21. Change Our Software
  22. 22. Measuring Dimensions of Voice
  23. 23. Trend or blip?
  24. 24. Content Marketing Every key measurement depends on good content.
  25. 25. http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34080/Why-Marketers-Need-to-Rise-Above-the-Deluge-of-Crappy-Content.aspx
  26. 26. What Happens When Volume of Crap Soars? Better language will matter more than ever
  27. 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. 28. What problems remain?  Assessing scale of problem  Internal alignment  Voice definition  Remain distinctive  Localization  Measurements
  29. 29. PG.Bartlett@acrolinx.com

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