Jargon in Writing - Should You Use Jargon in Your Copy?


Wondering whether or not to use industry-specific jargon in your copy? Where is and isn't it acceptable to use jargon in advertising copy? Find out the ins and outs of using jargon right in today's blog. 

When it comes to copywriting, one of the first rules we’re taught it to get rid of complicated language, aka jargon. People respond to simple words. Don’t overcomplicate things. That’s what we’re always told right? 

When you look at using jargon objectively, is it really all that bad? Well, for the majority of the time, using jargon can be detrimental to your copy. However, in some exceptions, it can be acceptable to use it and it may even maximise your sales. Let us explain.

What is jargon?

Jargon is defined as “special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand”. Naturally, you would assume NOT to use jargon as a copywriter, as making your copy hard to understand defeats the whole purpose of writing copy. 

However, jargon CAN be used to create a sense of enhanced value. You can make the ordinary seem extraordinary by playing with words. We’re not saying over complicate your copy for the sake of it. But if you’re writing about a technical topic, there are lots of industries that have their own language. Being aware of your target audience is super important here so knowing your terminology and using it correctly is an effective way of using jargon in your copy.

When to not use jargon in copy

So when do we not use jargon? There’s a fine line when it comes to using jargon. Steven King even called it the copywriting equivalent of the dandelion. One is fine, but if you’re not careful, you can get covered in their little flowers. You then won’t be able to see your lawn or tell the difference between grass and flower stalks. See the analogy we’re going for here? 

It goes without saying that if you’re writing for a broad, open audience that doesn’t have specialist knowledge, using too much jargon immediately renders your copy unreadable. You won’t be able to relate to them and persuade them to purchase. However, if you know your audience does have this specialist knowledge, go for it. Don’t overdo it, but you can definitely afford to sprinkle a bit in here and there, simply to create a sense of enhanced value. You can use it to build trust and make your copy more compelling.

For example, let’s take coffee:

Avid coffee drinkers will know what a latte is and if you’re a fan of Starbucks, you’ll know that grande means large. To give your customers a sense of enhanced value, change a ‘large coffee’ to a ‘grande latte’. Sounds a lot better right? Your customers understand this jargon which makes them feel important and therefore, more likely to convert.

So, in conclusion, when in doubt, ditch the jargon. As a strong copywriter, you should always try and establish your audiences beforehand. This will allow you to form a supported decision about whether or not you should be using jargon. If you know your audience will understand it, use it …but still, use it sparingly.