The B2B buying cycle might be long, but that doesn’t mean your tech content marketing should be. You only need to use the number of words it takes to convince your buyer to keep you on their vendor shortlist. That’s it.
Stuffing your content & copy with unhelpful words and phrases that add nothing to what you’re trying to say is getting you nowhere. It bores your readers, complicates your ideas, and waters down your ideas.
Your tech marketing content needs a light touch to succeed. Cutting those filler and unhelpful words from your content & copy will make it sparkle. Your word choice is how you increase value for your readers, not the word count.
13 Words & Phrases to Banish from Your Tech Content
When re-reading your tech content, ask yourself this question, “What does it add to what I’m trying to say?” If the answer is “nothing”, delete it. Be ruthless in your editing and ditch these unhelpful words and phrases tout suite.
1. In order to
I’m guilty of this phrase all the time. I use it in my first drafts and then sometimes forget to swap it with something shorter. – usually “to”. No sentence ever suffered by replacing in order to with to, believe me. So make your sentence clearer by ditching it and using to instead.
Really is the lazy writer’s way of exaggerating the magnitude of the noun that follows it, but it has no real meaning. If you say your product is “really fast”, that doesn’t tell customers or prospects anything. Readers want to know how fast it is, so quantify it. “Our product is 5 times faster than previous versions.”
They respond better to content that gets specific and granular, so swap out really with an accurate and precise descriptor.
3. A Lot
This is another vague term that adds nothing to your copy. Saying your latest service is “a lot different than our competitors” actually robs them of the experience of knowing how your service is. They understand that it’s somehow different, but aren’t sure how or why. They’ll need more specific information to connect with your copy on a deeper level and eventually make a buying decision with it.
Skip using a lot (or alot) and replace it with specific details. Quantifiable and specific information perform better in your tech content than a lot.
4. Always and Never
These two fall into the Absolutes Category for me. Writing with such certitude and finality makes me nervous, mainly because they promise something that I’m not comfortable with (or able to) promise. But really, they’re also so broad and all-inclusive that they don’t add anything to your copy. They might even get your tech company into legal hot water, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Opt for few or rare instead of never if you need to quantify something but don’t have specific numbers. Try using most or many instead of always.
Just has to be #1 on my list of Words to Banish from the office. Why? Because people use it to imply something small or inefficient, that’s not usually the case (“I just need you to look at” or “Can you just write a quick post?”).
In most copy, you can remove just entirely without affecting the sentence’s meaning.
Raise your hand if you use that too often in your writing. 🙋♀️ Yep, I do that all the time too. I only ever notice it on the second read through or edit of my content. It’s not usually needed and can bloat your word count very easily. (In my first draft of this post, I actually wrote: “It’s a word that’s not usually needed.” See? All. The. Time.)
Remove that from your sentence to streamline your content.
Using virtually when you mean nearly or almost in tech content or copy can be confusing, especially if you’re talking about virtualization and virtual appliances.
Most of the time, your writing makes sense without virtually, so just delete it.
When talking about time periods, often is just a tease for readers. You’re telling them something frequently happens without actually tell them how often. When it comes to technology, that’s not good. Readers want to know exactly how often it happens.
Replace often with a specific description or number, such as every month or five times a day.
Another lazy writer’s technique you might be using to increase the power of an adjective, but don’t.
Instead of saying very + an adjective, replace it with a single, stronger adjective that’s specific. For example, instead of very fast, try quick. Instead of very wide, say broad.
10. Obviously and Of Course
Two more for the Absolutes Category that you should abolish immediately from your tech copy. These assume your reader knows something which they might not. What’s obvious for one tech buyer might be new to another. Never assume that your readers are familiar with what you’re saying is obvious.
Delete these two entirely from your writing.
11. When It Comes To
This sneaky phrase creeps into every writer’s first draft and sometimes makes it to the final version (including many of mine). It’s not incorrect, but it’s wordy. For example, you can shorten, “When it comes to server virtualization, ACME Company is the best” to “ACME Company’s server virtualization solutions are the best.”
12. The Thing Is
Tech marketers trying to make their copy more conversational will often slip this phrase in, but it just creates more problems than it solves. It weakens your point and can lead to grammatical errors and awkward sentence constructions (usually because people forget to put the comma after is [The thing is we don’t have the budget for it should be written The thing is, we don’t have the budget for it].)
Delete the thing is from your writing and just explain your point.
13. Kind of and Sort of
These filler, unhelpful phrases make your writing sound uncertain. In the tech world, that’s not a good thing. You want to sound confident, not wishy-washy.
Avoid kind of and sort of and just say what you mean.
Aim for Stronger, Specific Writing
Improve your technical copywriting by removing unhelpful words. Words that don’t add anything to your message and might even dilute it.
As an editor once told me, the key to editing is to do it without mercy. You need to be ruthless and get rid of these words right away.
- Use action words.
- Avoid passive language. (“Be more productive with our awesome features” instead of “Your day will be more productive with our awesome features”)
When you tighten up your writing and make it clearer, your content is likely to attract more readers. And it’ll pump up your technical content marketing.