Understanding content clarity in the enterprise

Acrolinx asked Fortune 500 companies how important content clarity is to their enterprise. Would you have guessed that 61% of respondents said clarity was the most important factor?

Clarity in enterprise content means delivering messages that are easily understood, free from ambiguity, and aligned with organizational goals. It’s more than just conveying information — it’s about ensuring your target audience finds information that’s easy to read and act upon. In other words, it’s genuinely helpful. Clear communication presents a unified brand image to your target that fosters trust and reduces support tickets — not to mention reducing the risk of product misuse from confusing language.

But across global enterprises, cross-cultural teams or content teams with interdisciplinary subject matter experts, writing clear content is easier said than done. Especially when one in two writers use AI tools in their content workflows. This blog post explores exactly how critical content governance is when we rely not only on people, but generative AI, to write on behalf of the enterprise. And then, how to govern content to keep it valuable because it’s clear, concise, and useful. 

Murky messaging dilutes the customer experience

Unclear communication poses many challenges for businesses. Writing using jargon that alienates audiences, crafting overly complex messages that confuse rather than clarify, or being inconsistent across communication channels — it all erodes the customer experience. Even if you’re speaking to a highly specialized audience, research by the Thomas M Cooley Law School in Michigan found two things about writing:

  • 80% of readers prefer sentences written in clear English — and the more complex the issue, the greater that preference.
  • The more educated the person and the more specialist their knowledge, the greater their preference for plain language.

Plain language isn’t about dumbing it down, it’s about demonstrating expertise in a way that’s convenient for readers who are usually time poor and busy. Clarity is particularly important for readers with different accessibility requirements, so consider people who have:

  • A primary language other than English
  • Assistive technology to read content with
  • A range of devices they use to interact with content

So how do you add more clarity to your content workflows?  

You’d think that a style guide might be the solution, and you’d be somewhat correct. Acrolinx asked survey participants what strategies they use to keep content clear and concise and 75% said they use a corporate style guide.

But the thing is, if your style guide is locked in a PDF, or on an internal microsite, you have no way of guaranteeing that people are using it, or checking that AI-generated content matches your company’s editorial guidelines for style, voice, tone, or terminology. What you really need is enterprise-wide content governance. 

Content governance to the rescue!

Enterprise content governance operationalizes and maintains content strategy and impact over time. It takes the key elements of your content strategy like consistency, accuracy, and alignment with organizational goals — and establishes standards, guidelines, and workflows for content writing, distribution, and maintenance. 

Without content governance, you’re less efficient, unable to scale content creation, and produce content that potentially doesn’t comply with industry regulations. And, it alienates readers from writing that simply lacks the elements of language that make it easy to read and relate to. 

Content governance is the responsibility of the entire organization. Collaboration between different teams is essential in establishing and maintaining content governance standards. Technology tools, such as centralized content management systems, terminology databases, and digital style guides that evolve with your company’s goals and objectives are critical for success. 

Write to solve problems, not create them

Writing content simply for content’s sake isn’t a good enough reason to hit publish. To be relevant, it needs to solve a real audience need or challenge. So you need to know your audience and what matters to them. Clarity begins with a clear understanding of who content is for, and when to use it. All of which means your content governance strategy needs to:

  • Understand your audience’s needs, behaviors, and goals.
  • Address real problems that content will help solve.
  • Reduce the likelihood of writing content that isn’t useful or usable.
  • Give writers more certainty about what to write.

Content that solves problems is:

  • Is simple and straightforward.
  • Uses words and phrases that are familiar to your audience.
  • Explains any technical terms or acronyms.
  • Eliminates redundant words and phrases to streamline your message and keep readers engaged.
  • Is well-organized, with a logical flow that guides the reader from one point to the next.
  • Uses headings, subheadings, bullet points, and other formatting techniques to break up the text and make it easier to scan.
  • Contains messaging and concepts that are aligned with the purpose of the content, whether it’s to inform, persuade, or entertain. 

Acrolinx: A clear solution to complex content problems

Done well, content governance is a centralized way to manage complex content problems. That means it’s easy to apply the same content quality standards across the enterprise. The best way to govern content at scale is using an enterprise governance software like Acrolinx. It not only offers a holistic way to govern content — it helps writers meet your clarity goals with plenty of guidance on how to structure content to make it comprehensive, clear, and consistent. 

Acrolinx governs new and existing content regardless of whether it’s written by people or generative AI. Whether your company has written 100,000 words or 1 billion (like our customer Microsoft), Acrolinx makes sure each one reflects your style guide. Customers enjoy massive efficiency gains without sacrificing standards through AI-powered live writing assistance, automated reviews and quality gates, and analytics comparing content quality with performance. 

Acrolinx is your content insurance policy for content risks that emerge from unclear or ambiguous content. By quality checking your AI-generated content against your style guide, writing that doesn’t meet your clarity standards won’t be published. 

Can’t think of a different way to phrase something to make it easier to understand? Acrolinx employs generative AI to “rewrite” the content in a way that aligns with your company guidelines. With AI fueled efficiency into the content creation process, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of creating clearer content, faster. 

Are you ready to harness the power of clarity in your company’s content? Let’s talk.