How Plain Language Can Help Your Business Succeed
It’s important to be aware of how you communicate with your audience. From the way you speak to your clients to the copywriting on your website, you’ve got a message that you want to get across. To create powerful messaging that resonates, you need to write purposeful content that readers will understand quickly and easily. In other words, it’s in your best interest to write in plain language.
Plain language isn’t just good communication—it’s also good business. But how exactly can it lead to the success of your business? Before we look into that question, let’s define plain language:
What is plain language?
Put in simple terms, plain language means keeping your writing clear, concise and timely. It removes any messaging, language or design elements which could otherwise take away from a reader’s experience. It allows for copywriting that doesn’t require deciphering, hunting or clarification—and it gets straight to the point.
Why does plain language matter for business?
Plain language increases your odds of being properly understood by your target audience, and puts you one step closer to a better customer relationship and potential sale. Stay clear of obscure vocabulary, contradictory sentences, long and complicated paragraphs, and unclear messaging.
So what if your business doesn’t use plain language? Won’t readers eventually figure it out? Well, for one, it’s not their job to decipher your jargon. For another, unclear copywriting will cause confusion, and ultimately be a lost opportunity for you.
How do you use plain language to create opportunities for your business?
There are many steps you can take to leverage plain language for the success of your business. Plain language is a well-studied science with new findings every day. But if you’re starting off, here are three easy tips to start with:
- Simplify your language: Write like you speak and use common words. There’s no need to complicate language—that’s not writing for your audience, that’s writing for yourself. Your main objective should be to write to solve your audience’s problem.
- Organize information for your reader’s benefit: You don’t want to send your readers on a wild goose chase. If they’ve made it to your page, they’re looking for something specific. Help them find the information they’re looking for. Get to the point right away, keep your messaging concise, arrange your information in a logical order, and use visuals such as tables or charts to deliver your information.
- Think inclusively: When we write, we often do so at our own level of academic understanding. The trouble with this is that your demographic many not be that of your readers. For example, adult literacy is an ongoing issue in Canada—42% of all adults are functionally illiterate. Literacy rates become a huge problem for more complex and important messaging such as warning labels, legal documentation, and health information. 42% is a huge percentage of your potential audience.
Plain language acts as a bridge of clarity for individuals who experience difficulty understanding complex copywriting online, and removes the obstacles that may otherwise alienate them from benefiting from your services or products.
What would you say is the biggest benefit of using plain language in your business communications?