Vague language–when is it important?

Is this needlessly vague?

A colleague asked me this question recently as we worked to hone the language of a data sheet.  I love his question because it goes right to the core of a communication strategy I am always working on in my writing, especially for corporate writing, such as data sheets, white papers, and customer messages.

When communicating with customers, and especially prospective customers, there are times when being vague is essential. In today’s world of too much information (TMI) most people are as skittish as a deer when deciding to read the whole thing, looking for a way to disqualify any communication so they can delete it from their inbox. This means that each and every detail gives them cause.

However, when writing a data sheet or other document that readers are coming to once they are engaged with the company, product, or offering they want details to prove to themselves they are in the right place–especially in the high-tech world I work in.

So, I am always focused on ensuring the “right” amount of detail for the timing, audience, and purpose of the message. It’s one of the things that makes marketing really interesting and fun, and hard as hell.

That’s why I am grateful to my colleague for summarizing it so well. I now have a purposeful question to ask when evaluating content.

Does this question resonate with you? Even if you don’t work in marketing, it’s still a valid question.  Would you use the same language with your boss as with a peer or customer?  Your child as with your spouse?

What questions do you ask yourself to ensure that messages are appropriately crafted and targeted? That your audience won’t bolt of through the woods? Please share by leaving a comment below!

My best wishes for an amazing day and week. See you next Wednesday!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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