From buzzword-filled eBooks to websites that use more words than necessary to explain a simple concept, we have all been on the receiving end of marketing fluff. As a marketer with a multicultural background, I’ve spent my career recognizing the impact that words can have (or not have), particularly in creating lead-generating assets for clients. While fluffy marketing exists in every industry, tech is especially prone to weak messaging. Technology products often involve complex and rapidly changing components that may be difficult for marketers to explain to a broad audience. This leads marketers to rely on aspirational messaging and emotional appeals instead of technical details.
So, I joined our skilled storytellers in pinpointing the top four tips for writing about technology in a way that is both informative and fun to read.
1. Get factual with your figures: Want to make a bold statement about a tech product or service? Back it up with facts and figures. Use data, case studies, and research to support your claims and show your audience what makes your technology special. “Let’s say a process used to take 24 hours to complete, but now because of [enter tech solution] the process takes you one hour. Run the math on time saved as a percentage, and voila, you’ve got yourself a metric,” says our Editorial Lead Forsyth Alexander.
Don’t forget to place numbers in your titles, too (see what we did here?). “People like to see real numbers to denote benefits, improvements, or value, which increases your click rate,” Forsyth adds. Using this tactic is how we beef up case studies and eBooks to get more eyeballs on our clients’ stories. And they get a lot of eyeballs.
2. Buzzwords can be buzzkill: The tech industry has its own language, and it can be tempting to use buzzwords to sound like an expert. But resist the urge! When words are overused, our brains tend to skip them. Instead, explain complex concepts in plain, easy-to-understand language that everyone can follow. As 2A Storyteller, Richa Dubey, notes, “You might think you’re getting everyone’s attention by using buzzwords, but the reverse might be happening, and it can be counterproductive.”
For example, instead of describing something as agile or data-driven, demonstrate how your product or service enables those approaches.
3. Keep it short and sweet: No one likes to read a long-winded case study, especially when it comes to tech. Be concise and use examples to illustrate your ideas. As the 2A tech news troubadour, Jane Dornemann, puts it, “Fluff, to me, is too high-level and takes too long to get to the point. Don’t waste time explaining a scenario your audience is very familiar with. You don’t need to define CI/CD to developers, for example—just explain how you solve their problems, and don’t spend so much time expanding on what the problem is. They already know what it is.”
And, if you must use highly technical terms but don’t want to shut out a broader audience (like an IT lead), briefly explain them in simple terms, make them somewhat understandable in context, or link to another resource with more details—but don’t use precious real estate defining things that your reader likely already knows. It just becomes filler and makes your target audience feel like the content is meant for someone else.
4. Honesty is the best policy: Technology is amazing, but it’s not perfect. Don’t underestimate your readers’ ability to sniff out bravado. Avoid exaggerating the capabilities or benefits of a product or service and be transparent about its limitations. Our Managing Senior Storyteller Kimberly Mass suggests keeping it real. “Words have meanings. When you use precise language—exactly those words that mean what you intend to say—you have a much better chance of being understood and believed.”
For example, is your product really “leading edge,” as in “at the forefront of technological development,” or would it be more honest to simply call it new or upgraded? Your audience will appreciate your honesty and trust your brand more in the long run. Acknowledging a product is in beta and that not everything is going to run amazingly is OK, friend.
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