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Jargon’s Place in Marketing


If someone from another country turned on a sports program on television, they might be confused by what they heard: “Nothing but net!” “He left a few ducks on the pond!” “That kick split the uprights!”

This is called jargon, and it includes any words or phrases used by a particular group that can be confusing to outsiders. When it comes to legal marketing, jargon is everywhere and it’s difficult to determine its true place. In fact, your firm may be guilty of using jargon in your marketing materials.

We understand. It can be tempting to write technically in order to show off your extensive knowledge or expertise in a given area. However, technical writing is different than throwing jargon around, and jargon has no place in marketing of any kind — especially legal content writing. Toss in a few too many “writ of habeas corpus,” and you can kiss your potential client goodbye.

Why Jargon Hurts Legal Marketing Efforts

The worst thing you can do in marketing is to confuse people or make them feel stupid. That’s what jargon does. Otherwise intelligent people begin to doubt themselves when they see words they don’t understand.

If you have already alienated your potential client by tossing around terms they don’t understand, you have missed out on establishing that crucial bond of trust. They’ll also ignore the message you’re trying to convey.

There are plenty of other reasons why jargon can hurt your marketing efforts:

  • It’s lazy. Rather than explaining why you do something, jargon allows you to lean on clichés.
  • It’s broad. Jargon lets you to skip over the specifics you should be discussing to draw clients to your firm.
  • It’s elitist. People feel intimidated by marketing materials that throw around big words, and it makes most people worry that they can’t afford or deserve your services.

Is It Okay to Use Jargon Under Any Circumstances in Marketing?

In most cases, there are always other words you can use instead of jargon. If you feel uncomfortable writing without using jargon, you may need to hire an outside writer to help you with your marketing efforts. Your valuable time is better spent strategizing for clients than trying to come up with a way to explain “prima facie” to laypeople.  

If you decide to outsource, it’s important to work with a writer who has legal background and understands the terms you use at work. However, they should also be able to translate those terms into simple English. This will help you earn the trust of potential clients rather than frustrating them with complex language.

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