We’ve already said that using jargon and industry-specific terms in your MSP content can be off-putting for your readers, who may not be familiar with them but assume that they should, and feel embarrassed because of it.
However, you do need to explain to your customers exactly what the services you offer can do and how they can help. Using technical information is unavoidable if people are going to make an informed choice about the right solution for their business. So what do you do?
Review Your MSP Content Carefully
Before you press publish on a blog or website page, take time to go through it. Have you used any acronyms (a word or created to stand as an abbreviation, usually from the first letter of each word in the name or phrase)? Even those you think are obvious might not be, so make sure you write them out in full. You only need to do this once, the first time you use the acronym, and you can use the abbreviation everywhere else in the text.
If you’re not confident with you’re writing, use a tool to check sentence length, voice and readability. Word comes with the Flesch-Kincaid review, which looks at how simple or complex your text is. Pages has a readability statistics option. The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress blogs has a similar facility.
You can also get advice from the Plain English Campaign, which works to provide advice to organisations of all kinds to communicate more clearly with their audiences. They also offer training and certification – the Crystal Mark for print and the Internet Crystal Mark for online messages.
And if you’re still not sure, ask someone outside of your business (and ideally, industry) to read over your content and ask them if it makes sense. If there’s anything they don’t understand, ask them to note it down and see if you can simplify it for people.
Explain MSP Terms Clearly
If you don’t want to take up too much space in your copy (text) with long explanations, consider referring people elsewhere to find the definitions of particular terms. The UK government site (www.gov.uk) has sections to explain things like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and MTD (Making Tax Digital) for example, so point people towards something like that.
Or, to keep people on your site, create a list of your most commonly-used terms, publish it and link to it every time you use industry jargon in your content. I’d still recommend, however, writing acronyms out in full, even if people then refer to the list for more information.
Make the Writing Process Easier
I don’t have a tech background myself, so when I started writing for MSP and IT companies, I often found myself coming across unfamiliar terms, which I’d note down. I’d then either ask the client to explain or look it up myself online and jot down the meaning.
The result is my own personal glossary of the most used words and phrases in the industry, which I add to every time I learn a new one. The glossary is always open on my computer when I start work, and it saves me having to go back to Google. It also means I use the same definition every time.
In case you’re wondering, a couple of my clients have MSP or IT companies as their target audience, and I still use the full definition as well as the acronym in their content. You should never assume your reader knows what you mean and you don’t want to put them off!
This brings me to my next point, which is that you can employ the services of a professional writer to produce your copy for you. We’ll be talking about how to work with a copywriter later in this series, but essentially their job is to simplify complex information so your readers can understand it.
A technical writer is someone who does exactly this for technical companies, making the information clear, comprehensible and accessible, with the aim of allowing the reader to complete a task or learn something new.
Industry jargon, no matter what the field, has a bad reputation, because there’s a notion that people use it to sound clever. In fact, I think that most of the time people don’t even realise they’re doing it because it’s so familiar to them. Certainly, when I talk to friends about content marketing, some terms need to be explained clearly.
And ultimately, that’s what it comes down to – helping your audience to feel that they’ve learned something, and they can trust you to give them benefit of your knowledge to empower them to make good choices. So use jargon – sparingly where possible – define it for the reader, and everybody will be happy.