Amongst the many hats I’ve collected while working on videos is that of scriptwriter. While I’m certainly not going to be penning any Oscar winning scenes or composing prose worthy of detailed study, clients seem to appreciate the conversational and direct approach I work towards. One aspect of script writing for clients I find difficult, and that we didn’t directly address in our earlier article on writing a killer explainer video script, was how to avoid the use of jargon.
Just to be clear, jargon is “obscure and often pretentious language marked by circumlocutions and long words” (thanks Merriam-Webster Online!). Take note of those words “pretentious” and “circumlocution.” I strongly doubt you want to sound pretentious when talking to potential customers. While circumlocution is defined (again by MWO) as “the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea” or “evasion in speech,” again, not the best way to present yourself. Though for the purposes of this article, I’m mostly concerned with guiding you away from words and phrases that are just plain confusing.
If your viewers don’t get what you’re saying, they’re certainly not going to get what you’re selling. Which is the primary purpose of explainer videos. Though knowing what your potential clients or customers will understand is where things get tricky. If you’re selling B2C you should avoid jargon completely.
Writing for Consumers
One of the best ways to keep things simple is to focus on benefits rather than your features. Most consumers don’t care what coding format you used to create your great new app, they want to know what it’ll do for them. Lots of people don’t know what the cloud is, but they definitely like hearing they can access their files from anywhere. If you’re a B2B company working with business clients, jargon becomes a little more natural, even in describing benefits.
Writing for Other Businesses
“Wouldn’t you love to drill down and uncover your true account spend?” When presenting to a business audience, it’s tempting to use jargon because you might assume they’ll be familiar with it. In fact, many of them likely will have heard or used the terms before, but it’s risky to assume that’s the best language to use. The best language is what will be understood by the most viewers. So write with common words rather than content specific jargon.
Let’s Try an Example
Here is a bad line:
“[Product] turns disparate customer data into renewal ready opportunities by consolidating data from multiple sources. Cleansing, enriching and analyzing it, then providing you with critical business insight including key performance indicators, the ability to uncover hidden growth opportunities and industry benchmarks.”
And here is a viewer friendly version:
“[Product] works with your data, wherever you have it, to help you make better decisions, offer better products, and see a better bottom line.”
Don’t be afraid to be a simple scripter. Your customers will thank you for it.
Now that we’ve fixed 1 mistake, here are 18 other reasons corporate videos fail.
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A picture is worth a thousand words, but a 60-second video is worth about 1.8 million words. We know the content of your script is vital (we’ve written about that before), but so is the way it’s put together. Here are 7 quick tips to streamline your script writing process. 1. Don’t just start with …