1 April 2018/ For CRE Professionals

Keep the jargon out of online marketing

When writing for digital channels you need to stay true to the nature of the medium. Copy taken from lengthy brochures written in technical language might not translate into a catchy commercial property listing, especially if the listing is for a smaller property.

As any good copywriter would suggest - tell the story or describe the property as if you’re talking to someone who has no connection to your industry.

A good copy is one everyone understands easily. You might alienate potential clients if they don't understand the acronyms or jargon used to communicate your offer. The headline reasons to rent or buy a building in your marketing collateral should be crystal clear and jargon-free.

Here are some examples of terms and phrases we often see in property marketing, which would best left to the technical specifications section of a website, or omitted all together:


Onsite commissionaire - this is simply a receptionist. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s great to have access to a serviced reception where your guests are welcomed and your letters and parcels are sorted. But as lovely as it is, there is no need to call them a commissionaire.

Fan coils or four pipe fan coil air conditioning - it’s A/C. If tenants have specific requirements on air conditioning, they can seek it out in the technical specification. If you want to big it up, it could be “modern” or “newly installed”.

Cat A - this is a construction term, which means nothing to people outside the industry. Why include it? To your average punter, it means the landlord of the building has installed floors, A/C and lighting, leaving the tenant to fit the rest it to their heart’s desire.

Grade A - another industry term likely to confuse non-agents. If it’s Grade A, prove it by outlining the benefits to the end user!


Exposed services - it might not be jargon, but it’s a bit of a cliche. Exposed woodwork, exposed pipes, exposed brickwork sound very hipster, but most of this can be seen in the photos accompanying a listing.

Media-style office - back in the day, a media-style office implied that this type of office would only suit a company with a more relaxed culture - like a media agency. But is this still relevant? Probably not. People don’t search for media-style office either. They are more likely to search for a modern, stylish office. Or even a Swedish style office.

Well-appointed - this one might be controversial. This word is overused when it comes to commercial property. Even if a space has an awkward layout, it’s often described as ‘well-appointed’.

Economical floor plate - or for me and you, it’s a type of floor which has a simple, open plan layout. Simply, it’s a no-hassle floor to fit and fix.

Raised floor - it’s a construction model in which a slightly higher floor is constructed above the building's original concrete slab floor, leaving the open space created between the two for wiring or cooling infrastructure. As long as you’re not an IT manager, then that's not of any relevance at all. It’s worth putting it in a specs section, not in the main copy.

Generous floor to ceiling height - the height is usually measured from floor to ceiling, so generous would simply imply the building has a high ceiling.

Unrivalled branding opportunities - this one is not your typical jargon - it’s more marketing speak. If you’re renting out a retail shop, having space to put up your branding is important. If you’re in an office, having massive branding outside your premises might not be as relevant. Plus, who am I to judge if an opportunity is truly unrivalled?


Demised male and female WC - demise is a legal term, which doesn’t properly explain the situation here. Firstly consider, is this a headline reason to rent the building, or something you can explain on a viewing? In property law, to demise means to transfer by lease. In practice, what’s wrong with calling them private WCs?

Asbestos roof - amazingly this is one comes up often in industrial property listings. Asbestos understandably doesn't have a great reputation due to its link to cancer; however, it can still be found in many buildings. It doesn’t mean you should include that in your marketing materials. A building with an asbestos covered roof is not exactly enticing.

GCH - allow me to decipher this for you; Gas Central Heating. According to Google, this acronym can also mean Generalized Continuum Hypothesis (mathematics) or Group Club Handball (in Germany). If the building has gas central heating, just say it without using abbreviations.

LG7 lighting - it’s just a type of lighting. For common folk, it doesn’t make any difference if the lighting bares a code LG7, LG3 or any other type. Instead, you could stress how bright and well-lit a space is. That’s way more important.

Manually operated lift - I am not quite sure what the difference is between manually operated and non-manually operated lifts. I attempted to research it, but Google wasn’t much help either. If a place has so-called ‘paternoster’ lifts, that’s quite an attraction and it could be mentioned in marketing collateral. Manually or non-manually operated lifts don’t have the same ‘wow’ factor.

Electric external louvre system - this one is definitely not for the main body copy. I would stick this one under the tech specification section.

Modern high-end fixtures and fittings together with cutting-edge connectivity - last but not the least, I will try to interpret this one for you. There is a classic chartered surveyor mistake here: mixing marketing speak and legal terms. High-end materials were used to renovate and fit the space and fibre optic cables were installed in the building.

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