Who doesn’t love an acronym?
We often get asked “what’s the best way to bring to life a complicated subject?”.
Our most informed (and successful) answer, “by keeping it simple”.
After graduating in the early 2000s I embarked on a postgraduate diploma in newspaper journalism, training with some amazingly talented peers and also learning from some incredibly experienced course leaders.
Yes, we had to learn about media law, local government, ethics in reporting and finding a good angle – what we refer to as the “nugget”. But the key to landing a really great piece was by following two really simple acronyms.
Number one: KISS. Keep it short and simple.
Number two: ABC. Accuracy, brevity and clarity.
But why keep your content simple?
I took my place on my journalism course “almost” fresh from a degree in English and Classics.
I always caveat with “almost” as I was fortunate enough to be thrown into a baptimsm of telecoms, commerciality and customer fire, with a 12-month stint at the newly formed O2 (previously BT Cellnet).
My undergraduate degree had been a heavy mix of texts, ranging from Homer’s Odyssey and Dante’s Inferno, through to Virginia Woolf, Ian McEwan and even Roald Dahl.
It might sound impressive, but the style around them was long and often grandiose. Anything but KISS or ABC.
Unlike essay and dissertation writing – often complex – you need to think of your audience. Do they want long and grandiose. Generally not, unless they’ve asked for it.
Your existing and prospect customers receive a barrage of persuasive messages – some estimate 400 a day (source: psychologist Kevin Dutton). Further research shows that 81% of those contain written or verbal content that is totally unnecessary.
It’s the perfect excuse for your audience to switch off, tune out, and move on to something else.
Four big reasons to stick to ABC and KISS
- Trust me
Did you know people trust simplicity? A series of studies carried out by Stanford University uncovered the trust the strength and accuracy of content was higher when it contained simpler language and simpler messages.
2. Anti-Fluff brigade
Unfortuntately, a lot of sales and marketing content is laden with meaningless and irrelevant content. The more-is-better approach nearly always makes a negative impression. Your audience is made up of busy people, so it stands to reason they want to quickly get the information they need and move on. Take the time to cut any unnecessary jargon, empty claims and weak verbs.
3. The shortcut bias
Even our brains don’t like their time wasted. In effect, they’re hardwired to take shortcuts to the simplest conclusions possible. What does that tell you about information consumption when your audience is processing content, whether a proposal, presentation or marketing material? Give them the shortcut they desire.
4. Short-term memory
Your audience is already processing lots of information from you and your competitors, particularly during the prospecting process. Studies by the Persuasion Institute discovered while the average company communicates six to eight features of their service to prospects, only two are remembered.
So don’t be afraid to rip up the rulebook
And here’s an example.
On the cusp of launching a new ‘first of its kind‘ automated solution – one of our clients asked us to help bring to life the transformation of an archaic process into what would be a modern-day game-changer for the telecoms industry.
It needed to be a vehicle that would sit at the heart of a campaign targeting the telecoms market. It needed to cut through some serious complexity.
What could we do to help?
Number one: keep it simple
Number two: keep it super simple
Number three: make it child’s play
We wrote a highly engaging (and equally entertaining) parody children’s book. We’re no strangers to a children’s book – if you haven’t already read it why not take a look at Splendid Marketing.
Key takeaway: keep the focus of your content to a limited number of simple, key messages — the most important benefits your prospects will receive by working with you. Trust us.
If you want to discuss super simple content and PR messages, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org