Frankenspeak and Content Marketing

Show offrankenspeak hands, who has used any of the following in the last week?

  • Synergize
  • -pocalypse or -ageddon (snow-pocalypse or sale-ageddon)
  • Blogosphere
  • Pick your brain
  • Put this on your radar
  • Drink the kool-aid

Techno-speak, execu-speak, jargon, lingo . . . the beast goes by many names.  Coined by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, Frankenspeak is “convoluted text that doesn’t sound like it was spoken by a human, but instead sounds like it was created in a laboratory.” We’ve all heard it around the office.  We’ve seen it peppered in memos and emails.  If we’re being truly honest, we’ve used it ourselves once or twice.  Every industry has its own version of Frankenspeak.  It feels so good to use it, like your finger is on the pulse (more Frankenspeak.) While this can be a form of effective communication within that industry, what happens when Frankenspeak finds its way into your B2B communication or your client-targeted content?

Would it feel like a human was writing to another human, or like a buzzword robot was stuck on autopilot? If you can know your clients as humans it’s easy to communicate with them like humans.  If you’re resorting to Frankenspeak, ask yourself if you truly know who your client is. Personal, simple communication is the cornerstone of content marketing.  Remember, you’re not marketing to your friend down the hall who knows the 4-1-1 (another danger of Frankenspeak is that it doesn’t age well – something can go out of fashion and take your content down with it.)

Frankenspeak is “convoluted text that doesn’t sound like it was spoken by a human, but instead sounds like it was created in a laboratory.”

So where does Frankenspeak come from?

Frankenspeak is the product of two common elements of communication:

  1. Efficiency (ie. Laziness) where the shortest way to communicate a message is clearly the best. Why waste time telling someone about the world of technology when you can just say “technoverse” or, instead of saying that you will use something to its maximum output, just say “maximize.” Frankenspeak has made it acceptable to use what is akin to slang in a professional environment.
  2. Language = Community. This is a bit more complex to break down; but the simplest estimation is that once you learn the language of a company, you will belong.  Think of any workplace, sports team, club, or close-knit social group.  After a certain amount of time you collectively start to develop a language of your own that codifies your community.  This is essential to bonding within a workplace – however, in marketing it alienates clients who don’t know the lingo and aren’t impressed with jargon.

Content is for the client, not the company.  The key to effective communication is to keep it simple, and to speak a language that everyone can understand.   The next time you’re writing a piece of content consider if there is a simpler way that this could be said.  Limit yourself to words that can only be found in the OED (trust me, you will not feel stifled.)  Most importantly, remember that you are marketing to humans and so it’s important to sound like a human yourself.

We don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water and completely overhaul the operation. But by utilizing our resources and putting our best foot forward we can peel the onion to get to the crux of the issue: in order to revolutionize communication, we have to go back to basics and check our egos at the door.

Or, more simply put: Write what you would want to read. Be clear.  Be concise.  Don’t be a Frankenspeaker.

Come meet with us today to discuss your writing or social media marketing project.  At Thinkbound, we are stray away from techno-jargon, giving you concise to the point advise on the strategic direction of your business and develop a content plan to effectively communicate to your audience!

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