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"Thomas Clifford has made something useful here. This report will give you some really catchy, useful ideas.

It made me reconsider how I do what I do, so you might give it a look-see, too!" 

Chris Brogan, President, Human Business Works 

"Tom Clifford is by trade a filmmaker. For most of his life, he rarely wrote anything longer than a brief comment in the margin of a script. 

Now, though, he's producing tens of thousands of words a year, first as a Fast Company "Expert Blogger," and then as a writer for the Content Marketing Institute. 

How did Tom go from a non-writer to a prolific and much-read one? His eBook, '5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways . . . , ' holds some of his secrets."

Mark Levy, Author of "Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content"

“Tom is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet—if you have the privilege to meet him. And he does sterling work as well. But don’t just take my word for it.

Read this free report and you’ll not just love its tone and content, but learn a lot as well.”

Sean D’Souza, Psychotactics.com

“Anyone who wants to improve their writing needs this e-book. A lot of ebooks are short because they just don’t have much substance to offer. They’re not worth your time (and so are many of the long ones, too, for that matter). Tom’s is short because he’s so good at giving you only what you need to know. 

‘5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways to Write Faster, Better, Easier’ lives up to its promise by example as well as in the words themselves. Tom used the very same techniques he teaches you to write this book. 

And what’s in here is not just a rehash of the same tired ideas you find coming from people who have suddenly fancied themselves as writing gurus. There are tricks in here I never heard of (like the Writing Funnel) and some I had forgotten about and was glad to be reminded of (like Sporadic Writing).” 

Michael Martine, Blog Alchemist, Remarkablogger.com 

« Mark Levy Interview (Part 1): Crafting Compelling Messages | Main | How Bringing Up Objections Reduces Email Ping-Pong »

How to Detect Gobbledygook in Your Content  

Imagine reading this:

“We are pleased to announce our new, easy to use and improved cutting-edge technology leverages innovative, robust and high-performance outcomes while uniquely positioning us to focus on world-class partnerships. Next generation outcomes are easily scalable and flexible up to 120 percent.”

Huh? Say that again?

That makes absolutely no sense at all

That’s right.

That’s because you’ve just been clobbered by a bunch of “gobbledygook.”

What is gobbledygook?
Gobbledygook is text or jargon in the English language that is filled with clichés and words that are over-used. Gobbledygook are words that are hard to understand or impossible to understand.

The name “gobbledygook” was coined by U.S. Representative Maverick in 1944 as a reaction to his frustration in the language often used by his fellow bureaucrats– a language that was convoluted and confusing to others. Maverick thought “gobbledygook,” a play on words from the sound of a turkey’s gobble, would accurately describe the nonsensical language his colleagues were using.

Who uses gobbledygook?
Just about everyone slips in some gobbledygook when they communicate. The worst part of it all? We usually don’t even realize we’re using these over-used words.

Why do people use gobbledygook?
People use gobbledygook language for several main reasons:
• We assume the audience understands our jargon
• We deliberately try to confuse the audience
• We know what we want to say but can’t say it clearly
• We want to impress others

What’s wrong with using gobbledygook?
Using gobbledygook language prevents your ideas from connecting with your audience. Connecting with your audience so they understand what you are communicating is the goal in all communications. If your audience sees gobbledygook in your communications– they’ve just hit the “gobbledygook wall.”

How can you remove the “gobbledygook wall?”
Removing the “gobbledygook wall” is incredibly easy.

HubSpot and marketing strategist David Meerman Scott joined forces to develop the Gobbledygook Grader. The Gobbledygook Grader analyzes and identifies the most over-used, meaningless and clichéd words in your content.

All you need to do is copy your content into the Gobbledygook Grader. Then– shazam! You get an instant analysis of the words that are considered gobbledygook.

Gobbledygook Grader also grades your content; 100 being the best score. And, yes, the grader is free to use.

Here’s an example
When I entered the content from one of my recent articles, the grader graded my content 88. Not bad, but it found the following words as gobbledygook: flexible, optimize, relationship management, unique. Knowing these words are over-used, I can go back to my article and revise it to make it more word-friendly for readers.

The example at the beginning of this article was graded 55. Oops. Too much gobbledygook, don’t you think?

What if your industry or company regularly uses gobbledygook?
If your industry or company regularly uses clichés, try doing this simple test.

Use the Gobbledygook Grader to grade your upcoming article or content. Rewrite your content without the clichés and over-used phrases. Share the two articles with a few potential readers. See which one they prefer.

It’s easy to get rid of gobbledygook
If you think clichés and meaningless words are sneaking their way into your content, take a second and run your copy through the Gobbledygook Grader.

Got to HubSpot's Gobbledygook Grader. Enter the text of your article, speech, email or whatever you’d like to check for gobbledygook. The closer you score to 100, the less gobbledygook you have in your content. Go ahead and de-gobbledygook your content– your audience will thank you for it.

Want to learn more?
Read David’s free “Gobbledygook Manifesto.”

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Reader Comments (2)

This problem is a passion for me. I wrote a similar post for Fearless Competitor. Read it at


It's a rampant problem in content.

Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor
President, Find New Customers "Lead Generation Made Simple"
June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Ogden
Sometimes we puposefully use jargon to avoid being blunt regarding a particular announcement within an article. This allows us to maintain some sensitivity. For instance, you could say a company got rid of a business; you could also say a company divested a business.
June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Carraway

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