Category: Spreading the jam

Top tips for businesses on coronavirus communication

By Gemma Gwilym,

For many, it will have been business as usual up until a few weeks ago.

Client meetings, brainstorming with colleagues, popping out for lunch, and the usual daily routine will have seemed incredibly mundane until they were transformed in an instant by the Coronavirus pandemic.

This drastic change has led to a time of extreme concern for businesses globally, with anxiety surrounding the impact on clients, staffing, and finances.

As staff up and down the country adapt to working from home, the most fundamental change businesses will be facing day-to-day is with communication.

Businesses are being forced to re-evaluate, and in some ways reinvent, how they can most effectively communicate with their clients, their staff, and their entire professional community under the most challenging of circumstances.

And they cannot afford to get it wrong, because right now effective communication is key.

Here, our Communications Manager Gemma Gwilym shares her top tips on how to communicate effectively within your business during this unprecedented health crisis.

Be human and authentic

With stress and worry inevitably having an impact across all levels of the business community, this is a time throw the corporate spiel out of the window and replace it with compassionate communications.

Whether you are communicating with staff who are worried about job security, clients who are concerned about the financial impact on their business, or industry colleagues who are in the same boat as you without a paddle, the same well-considered, empathetic communications approach applies.

In all forms of communication – from emails to virtual meetings and newsletters to media statements, ensure you are communicating honestly, and paying particular attention to the audience you are speaking to and the effect this is having on them.

When this is over, it’s that compassion and understanding, which will speak volumes about your business and what it stands for.

Don’t forget internal communication

While it’s natural to think external first in times of crises, with news suggesting that 25 million jobs will be at risk globally because of the pandemic, workers are going to be understandably worried.

As employers, loyal staff are now more crucial than ever to the continued running of your business, so it’s essential they are kept informed.

Consistent communication is the most effective way to address and eradicate any growing concerns. Keep senior leaders visible during this time and send out regular internal updates, even if there is ‘no change’, to help staff feel informed about what is going on.  

It’s also crucial to communicate openly and fully in relation to company decisions which directly impact their lives, and ultimately livelihood. This could include flexible working, reduced hours, an inability to work from home, or childcare. Issues which impact a worker’s family life are likely to be more emotive, so timely and honest communications are more likely to make staff feel supported and valued.

For customer-facing staff, there may be questions or concerns coming in from clients or suppliers. Ensure these staff are briefed on what can be said externally and how to deliver those communications.

Be meaningful and useful

At a time when most businesses globally are panicked about the overall effect this virus will have on their ongoing survival, be sensitive about what you communicate.

While you may be panicking internally about your sparse prospect list, now is not the time for a hard-sell.

Use your communications efforts to add value to your network, be it through blogs, vlogs, webinars or social posts.

Offer meaningful and useful advice which in turn will highlight your expertise.

Before sending out a piece of communications through your network, ask yourself:

  • Is it meaningful and useful?
  • Is this something I would appreciate?
  • Does this reflect our brand?

Be present

While you may feel like burying your head in the sand until this pandemic subsides and normal business resumes, during times of crisis being present – or in this case ‘digitally present’ – is crucial.

Even if your business is temporarily closed, stay front of mind with your customers through regular communications.

With people looking to social media for news updates and ‘light relief’ content while they stay at home, use your social channels to stay present.

From giving people an insight into what you or your colleagues are up to during the ‘lockdown’ or have meaningful conversations with people within your network, there are a number of ways you can remain ‘digitally present’ despite it not being business as usual.

If you require any communications support during the Coronavirus pandemic, contact jamjar on 01446 771265 or email or

Gemma is our resident media mastermind at jamjar. If you need that journo shine added to a story and an inside look into the mind of a reporter, she’s your gal.

Five things all journalists look for to spot a good news angle

By Gemma Gwilym,

How do you spot a good news angle?

That’s a question that I, as a former journalist turned PR professional, get asked quite frequently by clients.

Before writing an article, press release, or blog, everyone will ask themselves if the topic they are considering writing about is, in fact, interesting enough to warrant further discussion.

The term we often use to refer to a good article angle is whether it is newsworthy or not.

Identifying a newsworthy story can be the difference between achieving great coverage, or sending an article out into the media abyss.

Gemma at jamjar HQ

1) Newsworthy or not?

But how do you know if something is newsworthy?

Generally, a good news angle is deemed to be something which is genuinely new, interesting, informative and provides a unique perspective which promotes widespread interest and discussion.

However, when it comes to PR, this can be tricky. What a journalist deems newsworthy, and what a business believes is newsworthy maybe two totally separate things.

There are many reasons for this. It can be difficult for managers or those personally invested in a business to separate what’s interesting to them, from what’s interesting to the general public.

Being realistic and truly assessing the wider news value of your company information, can often shed a light on whether something is actually newsworthy.

When deciding on news value, it’s always handy to carry out a little bit of research online into similar industry stories and gauge interest.

2) Tapping into the news

Then there’s current events and news.

This could be seen to be an easy win for businesses in achieving coverage.

It allows businesses to comment on a story with in-built media interest while offering their own specialist opinion and adding genuine value to the article.

Any time a company can legitimately further the discussion around a news story or widely discussed topic, they are ensuring their story is newsworthy.

Let’s be honest, if you’re talking about something in the news, chances are the public will be too.

3) Human interest

Heartfelt human interest stories are particularly newsworthy and effective in engaging with the general public in an emotive way.

Readers will empathise with articles which detail personal achievement, overcoming adversity, tragedy and triumph, and heartfelt struggles. This enables them to form an emotional attachment with the story’s subject matter increasing their engagement and understanding of your message.

But this can be challenging when you are searching for a human angle in a business story.

Ask yourself, did this promotion come after years of tireless work and personal achievement for the staff member? Has an MBO allowed a family member to continue their family’s business legacy? There could be something you haven’t considered!

Obviously, this should only be used under appropriate circumstances and when there is a legitimate story to tell.

Photo: Vanilla Bear Films

4) Statistics and figures

What catches your attention more effectively – ‘Workers taking duvet days due to stress’ or ‘Over 1.8 million workers forced to take duvet days due to stress’.

Using statistics and figures within an article, and headline, not only strengthens it and draws in the reader by quantifying what you are discussing, but it backs up your point with numerical evidence and legitimises it.

More people are likely to be engaged by an article that discusses specific figures that they can relate to, rather than something vague, such as terms including ‘large sum’, ‘significant amount’ or ‘numerous’.

If a story said: People in Wales were consuming 100 chocolate bars per hour – I’d definitely want to read it! And be honest, you might too …

5) And finally…

Overall assessing whether a story is newsworthy or not is really about being realistic, doing a little bit of research, using some news savviness, and exercising honest non-biased judgement.

If in doubt, the PR team at jamjar are always here to help steer you in the right direction! As content and media specialists, we have a ‘nose for news’ and are happy to advise you on what has news value.

Gemma is our resident media mastermind at jamjar. If you need that journo shine added to a story and an inside look into the mind of a reporter, she’s your gal.

The importance of work experience

By Raspberry Jim,

Olivia Brayley recently joined us at jamjar from Swansea University as part of an internship programme. Here, she gives us her insight on why she found her work-experience at jamjar so rewarding and how it has helped her as she prepares to make the big jump onto the career ladder. For anyone about to graduate or considering a career in a creative industry, this is a must-read.

As the end of university looms, lecturers are constantly talking about employability. At first, I thought they were saying it just because they had to. But, since starting a placement at jamjar, I can see exactly why they encourage it so much.

With thousands of students graduating with media, PR and communication degrees across the UK every year, all seeking jobs in the same competitive market, the pressure is on to find a way to set yourself apart from all the other applicants.

So, why is work experience so important?

Employability plays a major part in securing jobs after university, especially in a career which can be somewhat unconventional. The media industry is ever-changing, with no two days the same, so gaining work experience prior to getting your first graduate job will prepare you for what you’ll likely be doing after university.

The tasks that media professionals carry out will undoubtedly vary, stretching from blog and social media posts to press releases and crisis communications. Working at jamjar, and being able to gain so much versatile experience, has made me so much more comfortable with the idea of what my future job will be like.

How can you benefit?

Although it’s easy to think ‘maybe next week’ or ‘I’m too busy right now’, the time, resources and University support you have at your disposal as a student makes it the perfect time to boost your CV.

Interning is such a good way to gain first-hand industry experience and is a world away from the theory and essay writing you’ll learn at university. Of course, having those written communication skills are still essential, but adapting those skills to the real working-world is exactly why work experience is key.

Working with a group of people that you don’t know also really helps to boost your confidence, as well as develop your communication skills, which will help you to be less apprehensive when you attend job interviews.

Go with the flow

Before I started my internship, I was hesitant about doing things outside of my comfort zone. But working with jamjar has taught me that stepping outside of my comfort zone is the best thing you can do. I even ended up in a promotional video! Learning lessons like this before you start work in the industry shows the need of work experience.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and take chances – it may not feel like it at the time, but it honestly helps with your progress and development.

Make sure it’s what you want out of a career

The great thing about work experience is that you get to try out an industry before you commit to it. This way, you can be 100% sure that you’re going into a career that is right for you.

I feel much more comfortable with the thought of life after university and can honestly say it is because my work experience placement has prepared me, and given me the confidence, to take the next step in my career.

So, if you get the chance to intern or gain work experience, go for it!  

How to use typefaces effectively

By Anna Jarvis,

Have you ever wondered about the significance of the style of words you use within your branding? Or how the use of a particular typeface or font can convey different messages to your customer? Come to think of it, what is the difference between a typeface and a font? Don’t worry, we’re going to delve into the world of fonts and typefaces to help you figure it all out.

What is the difference between ‘font’ and ‘typeface’?

Typeface originally meant a particular design of type, while font is a type in a particular size and weight. Typeface encompasses many fonts, however, because of the advancement of digital design you’ll often hear them used interchangeably, hence the confusion around the meanings.

Serif vs sans serif: What’s the difference?

A serif has a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter. And so sans serif, quite literally means without (sans) a serif.

Example of a serif font (left) and a sans serif font (right)

And what does the font say about your brand?

First impressions are incredibly important in the world of branding so make sure your typeface reflects what your brand stands for. Typically, serif is considered more traditional whilst sans-serif is considered to be more modern and current. If your brand has heritage and tradition, consider a serif style, but if you’re wanting to project that your brand is forward thinking and innovative, consider using a sans serif style.

Key typefaces

The most popular and recognisable serif typefaces are:

The most popular and recognisable sans serif typefaces are:

Sans serif is perceived to be easier to read on screens which is why, in this digital age, it has become so popular, even moving into logos.

Many big brands have also moved to use a sans-serif style in recent years to make their logos more digitally viable but also to project a clean and modern style. Here are some big brand examples from the luxury world who have followed this trend:

Old (left) and new (right) Burberry logo
Old (left) and new Diane von Furstenberg logo

Banks have also been following suit, keen to shake their old, traditional images. A new logo using a sans-serif typeface projects a contemporary and fresh feel:

So how about the ones you shouldn’t use…? Do you remember Comic Sans, Kristen and Curlz from your school days? No matter what you’re designing, they’ll always make your designs look ‘childish’. While they’re not quite sophisticated enough for the adult world, they’re the perfect fit for school text books.

Here’s a great graphic we found which shows what big brand logos would look like in Comic Sans…they don’t quite have the same gravitas, right?

Image via

Despite the simple generalisation that is made between the usage of serif and sans serif, there are always exceptions to the rule and it’s important to use design to challenge perceptions and conventions meaning you can challenge the norm by creating a stylish, modern look using a serif typeface and vice-versa.

In fact, be a trend-setter not a trend-follower and take a leaf right out of the pages of the biggest trendsetter around. VOGUE. A cool, timeless and stylish brand that thinks that serif works perfectly well for them, thank you very much.

Image via

Jam with us!

We could chat about typefaces and fonts all day long and so let us know if you need any support or advice in updating your logo and branding, we’d love to jam with you. Get in touch!

Anna is our zen master designer with an eye for detail. If it’s branding, print or digital graphics you’re after – she’s your font-tastic fairy godmother and knows how to make a creative project ‘pop’!

How to reduce stress and increase health and happiness in the workplace

By Raspberry Jim,

To coincide with World Mental Health Day, we decided to take a breather here at jamjar HQ and put the kettle on for a chat as part of the Mental Health Foundation’s Tea & Talk initiative.

“Talking is good for your mental health…People who are more socially connected to family, friends, colleagues or their community are happier, physically healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected.”

Mental Health Foundation

What is Stress?

Put simply, stress is our body’s response to pressures from a situation or life event.

What are the warning signs that you’re experiencing too much stress?

  • Feeling anxious and irritable
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Problems concentrating
  • Eating more or less that usual

Here are some ways to help alleviate stress in the workplace:

Form positive relationships – Chat to your co-workers, share your thoughts and get things off your chest. Annie McKee, in her book How to be Happy at Work, says that:

“Happiness matters at work as much as it does in our personal lives. And when we are happy, we are more successful.”

Organise your day – Prioritise tasks and delegate when you can. Taking on too much is a sure trigger for feeling stressed.

Take a break – Plan regular breaks throughout the day. Stop, take a deep breath and put the kettle on. Problems seem more manageable when you’ve had a little time to think and process. Perhaps even take some time to do some desk chair meditation. Not heard of it before?

Do you have one minute and seven seconds right now? Let’s do a mini meditation from Headspeace:

Keep moving – At lunch go for a walk and get some natural light. Even if it’s just a short walk around the block. Walks through out the day are a way to alleviate stress. Perhaps even try a walking meditation? Take a look at some suggestions here.

Eat well – Reduce sugar to avoid energy crashes in the day which can make you feel low and avoid stimulants like caffeine or nicotine. Pop out and get some decaf coffee for the team’s 3pm cuppa.

Sweet dreams – Aim for eight-hours of sleep a night and try and avoid looking at your phone in the hour before you want to go to sleep.

Here at jamjar the well-being of our team is very important and we always strive to make sure that we are supporting each other in every way we can.

In fact, we have a little jar of mindfulness that you can dip into when you need a little pick-me-up and a reminder of how valued and fabulous you are.

If you have any concerns about anything discussed in this blog, please visit MindCymru or any other Mental Health Charity who are ready to offer you support.

What is a Stylescape?

By Anna Jarvis,

A female sat at a computer doing graphic design

A Stylescape is one of our favourite design tools here at jamjar. Not heard the word before? Anna, our chief creative jammer, talks us through the importance of the branding journey, what a Stylescape is and how it can help you in the initial stages of visualising the aesthetics of a brand identity.

What is a Stylescape?

A Stylescape is a collation of images, designs, colours, typography, photography, patterns and textures that help preview a project’s visual direction.

Example of a recent stylescape we created for a client.

How does it differ to a Mood Board?

A Stylescape is similar to a Mood Board but is much more elevated.

The key differences between the two:

  • Rather than ‘cutting and pasting’ existing images, in a Stylescape they have been altered to fit the vision of the brand.
  • A Stylescape also differs in size and shape and tends to be rectangular and long, to show a journey from left to right.
  • Fonts and colours have been integrated into the Stylescape.
  • Because a Stylescape includes a highly curated selection of images, it looks like a new brand without creating anything new at that stage.


Example of a recent stylescape we created for a client.

How does creating a Stylescape help you in developing a brand identity or campaign?

A stylescape closes the gap between what all stakeholders in the project have in mind. It’s important to spend time in reviewing examples of good branding and to spend time in this stage getting this right, because in the long run there are less revisions to be made.

Example of a recent stylescape we created for a client.

Any questions?

If you have any design queries or have some questions for our in-house creative experts, we’d love to jam with you. Get in touch!

Anna is our zen master designer with an eye for detail. If it’s branding, print or digital graphics you’re after – she’s your font-tastic fairy godmother and knows how to make a creative project ‘pop’!

How to make your social media work for your business

By Raspberry Jim,

Social without strategy is like going on a road trip without Google Maps. You don’t know where you’re going! As with any journey, it’s important to know where you want to go.

When we work with brands, we get to know their business, industry and audience, before building a customised plan for success. We align audience, objectives and tactics in a way that achieves specific, measurable results.

To help you navigate your way, we’ve come up some tips to help your social content cut through the noise:

Jamming at jamjar HQ

Lifting the lid – Know your channels and use them appropriately

Whether you’re going to use them all straight away or not, we think it’s important that you claim your handle (or username) across all channels – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok – so nobody else does. Aim for consistency and make sure your handle is the same across them all.

Before you start, make sure you understand the differences between them all and know what works best for each channel.

Also think about your audience and the channels they are most likely to use. For example, if you’re trying to reach a younger demographic, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok need to be your go-tos.

Daunted at the prospect? jamjar can guide you through this social minefield and help you determine which platform is best suited to your marketing needs as a starting point for your strategy.

Jam vs Marmalade – What are you doing compared to your competitors?

Everyone has fallen down the Instagram rabbit hole, right? 12 profiles deep into the pop star ex-boyfriend of a reality star’s cousin. A bit of social media snooping is totally normal these days. So, snoop on your competitors!

Do your research to make sure all your content is ahead of the curve. Need help with this? Most people do! jamjar can help you put together competitor analyses and content ideas to strengthen your social media proposition.

The jam – What should you post about?

Don’t be all work, work, work – show a little life and personality in your social media.

Show your followers that there are real people behind your company and that it isn’t a bot sending out pre-scheduled posts.

Have fun and lighten up with some varied but relevant content, but make sure it is polished and professional.

If you need support, we can help you create and fine-tune your posts making sure that you are both impressive and typo-free!

Spread the jam – How should you engage with people?

…Like you would if you were seeing them face to face! Ask questions, listen to their feedback, don’t over-share. Social etiquette is the same in person and online.

Your followers are your best advocates so encourage them to comment and interact with your social media. This will help you gain insight into what’s working and what isn’t.

It’s also worth following industry experts and influencers so that you can share and repost relevant and relatable content with your followers.

Sticky situation – Don’t fall into follower traps

Don’t be tempted to buy your initial social media following. The best engagement and results come with growing your following organically as your brand grows.

Bought followers are not your real audience and once your real followers catch on to this you’ll lose their engagement, as well as damage your reputation (not to mention it’s against the T&Cs of all the major social media networks and you’ll probably get your account banned).

If you want to increase followers and engagement, but don’t know where to start, give us a shout.

That’s my jam – Are your ambitions reflected in your brand?

Your image and brand need to be consistent across all communications.

Make sure the look, tone and feel are the same across all channels and that it is in keeping with your brand vision and personality.

Do you know the difference between the nine (!) Georgia fonts? No? jamjar is here to offer you some creative guidance to steer you through the pitfalls of logos, colours and fonts to create something that will last.

We really hope you found this social media taster insightful. If you need any support or training, we’d love to jam with you. Get in touch!

World Photography Day – an image is worth a thousand words

By Raspberry Jim,

World Photography Day is an annual, worldwide celebration of the art, craft, science and history of photography.

However in a world that’s swamped with a cacophony of photographs and the swamp of selfies that we see on our social media news feeds you can get lost in the sheer volume of photographs that you see everyday.

In 2018, there was an estimated 1 trillion photographs taken!

Source: The Conversation

This got us thinking at jamjar HQ about how powerful images can be. You know, those few images that make you look twice and think. A picture is worth a thousand words after all.

Here are some images that got us talking in the office…

  • Sudanese Protests – Summer 2019
Woman preaching during the unrest in Sudan
Image via

This image of 22-year-old Alaa Salah went viral on social media during the unrest in Sudan earlier this summer. As police used tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire to try to disperse the protesters this ethereal image of a woman addressing the crowd, dressed in white is simple but powerful and with a clear message – words not violence.

“I’m very glad that my photo let people around the world know about the revolution in Sudan … Since the beginning of the uprising I have been going out every day and participating in the demonstrations because my parents raised me to love our home,”

Alaa Salah via The Guardian
  • Wales’ Grand Slam Win – March 2019
Welsh Rugby TEam celebrating winning the Grand Slam 2019 amongst rain, champagne and fireworks
Image: Ben Evans/Huw Evans Agency via
Welsh Rugby Captain Alun Wyn Jones celebrating Wales' 2019 Grand Slam win
Image: Aled Llywelyn/Huw Evans Agency via

The euphoria of the team, the passion in Alun Wyn Jones’ celebration. There really aren’t the words to convey the pure joy that passed through Wales that day back in March. Sit back and bask in that feeling once again…

  • Pages of the Sea – November 2018
Sand portrain of WW1 soldier being washed away with the tide
Image via

On 11 November 2018, tens of thousands gathered on beaches to say goodbye and thank you, to the millions of men and women who left their shores during the First World War, many never to return. Curated by Danny Boyle, beaches around the UK hosted a sand portrait of an individual from the First World War. And then, as the tide rose, it was washed away as we took a moment to say a collective thank you and goodbye.

  • Harry & Meghan’s Wedding – May 2018
PA/Getty/Yui Mok

Everyone loves a good pour over wedding photos and so when Harry and Megan got married the whole world stopped and waited to see what she would be wearing. The image that went viral of the day though was an arial shot by Yui Mok. It became known as “Diana’s View”.

Yui Mok said:

“The carriage took less than a second to pass underneath me, and in that time I had managed to shoot five frames, one of which would end up as one of the most memorable photos of the whole wedding. Of course, had the carriage driven a foot or so either side of my viewpoint, there wouldn’t have been a picture. There was a lot of luck, coupled with judgement and risk, involved in the making of this image, but often in photography that’s how the most memorable photographs come about!”

Yui Mok in

  • Planet Earth II – December 2017
A fish swimming in an ocean that is also filled with plastic debris
Image via

The final episode of Planet Earth David Attenborough didn’t hold back and showed us the heart-breaking images that our disposable plastic lives were responsible in creating.

The BBC naturalist added afterwards:

“We hoped that Blue Planet II would open people’s eyes to the damage that we are doing to our oceans and the creatures that live in them. I’ve been absolutely astonished at the result that that programme has had. I never imagined there would be quite so many of you who would be inspired to want change. “

  • Prince George meets President Obama – April 2016
Prince George meets President Obama at Kensington Palace

This adorable image, released by Kensington Palace, captured the even the coldest hearts. Allowed to stay up late, Prince George wasn’t at all fazed by the President’s arrival. He reportedly was more curious as to why Uncle Harry wasn’t goofing around as much as usual…

Results Day Advice

By Raspberry Jim,

Tex on orange background that says Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Brilliant

We’ve all been through it…dreaded Results Day. For those getting results this week we wanted to share some jamjar words of wisdom with you:

Stuck in a jam?

Didn’t get what you wanted on results day? Don’t worry, it will all work out, even if it doesn’t feel like it now. Take a deep breath and here are some ideas about what you can do next:

  • Clearing – This is when universities still have spaces open on some of their courses, and they advertise them to students still looking for a course (more information here).
  • Take a year off and reapply – There are lots of benefits of a gap year which might actually enrich you more than heading off to university straight away. Why not take some time to learn a new language abroad? Save some money? Gain some work experience? (more information here).
  • Re-sit your exams or ask for a re-mark – If you are thinking of either, here is Karis’ story.
  • Choose a professional qualification – perhaps earning qualifications thought vocational training courses that relate to a specific industry you’re interested in is better suited? (more information here).
  • Learn-on-the-job with an Apprenticeship – how about gaining recognised qualifications, essential skills and earning a wage? (more information here).


With or without A-Levels and University, there are major success stories in this world. Here are some of our favourite inspirational people who didn’t follow the traditional route:

Jim Carrey

When Carrey was 14 years old his family hit rough times. They moved into a VW van and the young aspiring comedian took an eight-hours-per-day factory job after school to help make ends meet. He moved to LA and would park on Mulholland Drive every night and visualise his success. One of these nights he wrote himself a check for $10,000,000 for “Acting Services Rendered,” which he dated for Thanksgiving 1995.
Just before that date, he hit his payday with Dumb and Dumber. He put the deteriorated check, which he’d kept in his wallet the whole time, in his father’s casket.

JK Rowling

J.K. Rowling had just gotten a divorce, was on benefits, and could barely afford to feed her baby in 1994, just three years before the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, was published. When she was shopping it out, she was so poor she couldn’t afford a computer or even the cost of photocopying the 90,000-word novel. It was rejected dozens of times until finally Bloomsbury gave it a second chance after the CEO’s eight year-old daughter fell in love with it.

So, don’t worry, you do you. And in the words of our Chief Jammer, Lyndsey:

Be bold, be brave and be brilliant.

Good luck xo

When jargon gets lost in translation with the media

By Gemma Gwilym,

Synergy, stakeholders, best practice, and incentivise, are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to business jargon.

Nothing is more eye roll inducing for journalists and copy editors than overused industry jargon which buries the real meaning and just generally adds confusion.

Yes, under the right circumstances, for instance liaising with business-specific media or even colleagues in your industry, jargon is appropriate. It can even act as a shorthand to get to the point quicker – which is great! But if it disguises what you’re actually trying to say, to the point that it is misunderstood or unreadable, then jargon is just jargon.

It can be all too easy to get sucked into jargon-heavy language when you’re surrounded by it daily in a business environment. Here at jamjar we’ve been known to ping an email or two, action a proposal, or even touch base with clients when the time has called for it – let’s be honest we’ve all done it! We sat down to discuss further…

Team jamjar

Jargon is often inevitable when you’re communicating with colleagues and using your own weird little language. But when this business-specific language suddenly becomes part of your vocabulary when communicating with potential clients or as part of press releases, the confusion begins. It’s at that point that you are assuming that the reader has prior knowledge of the technical phrases within your industry, which of course, they are unlikely to.

When communicating with anyone outside of your immediate business it is crucial that they are able to understand what product or service you are discussing. Otherwise, what’s the point! Using jargon in these interactions could result in the meaning being utterly lost in translation, which ultimately costs you business.

People who work in specialised fields seem to have their own language. Practitioners develop a shorthand to communicate among themselves. The jargon can almost sound like a foreign language.

Barry Ritzholtz

If your professional field is particularly technical or in-depth in any way, then when it comes to communicating with the media, it’s time to cut out the jargon. Overuse of it could not only see them heavily editing any release or information you send over, it could ultimately confuse them and lead to inaccuracies being introduced while they are re-writing it, or worst of all, dissuade them from even using the release entirely.

Always re-read any copy that you are sending out to customers or the press, and in doing so ask yourself, would a friend or family member outside of this industry understand this completely? If the answer is no, it might be time to explore using more easily understandable language, which gets the message across more effectively.

Equally, another offender which many are guilty of, is introducing acronyms into a press release without any explanation of the business they are related to. This, like jargon, also falls under the assumed knowledge category. Always write the full business title first followed by the acronym, never assume that the reader just knows what it is – they often don’t.

For example, diving straight in and discussing SEO might be fine for those in your technical field, but the average reader would have no clue you were discussing Search Engine Optimisation. So, always write Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This just clarifies the context for the reader and helps them understand what is being discussed.

So in conclusion, when it comes to jargon – less is always more!

Before we sign off, don’t forget to drop jamjar a line, or ping us an email if you have any press release or copywriting queries!!

Gemma is our resident media mastermind at jamjar. If you need that journo shine added to a story and an inside look into the mind of a reporter, she’s your gal.

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