How to Use Inclusive Language in Content Creation

inclusive language

Inclusive language is a language that respectively promotes and values all people. In essence, it is a type of language that avoids words and phrases that stereotype, insult, or exclude people. 

Latest trends in digital marketing and search engine optimization show an increasing focus on inclusivity and language use. Many platforms, like WordPress plugins, developed plugins that notify content marketers whether their writing complies with inclusive language use. 

Many content writers do not have awareness on how to use inclusive language in content creation and it could become the reason why their content does not reach the target audience. The article below explains the significance of using inclusive language and guides you on what should you do to use inclusive language in your writing. 

What is Inclusive Language

Inclusive language is the usage of such words and sentences that avoid biases, slang, and discriminatory expressions. Such a language refrains from distinguishing people based on their race, age, gender, social or economic status, and abilities. 

Inclusive language is something marketers and writers can use to make everyone feel welcome, understood, and appreciated. It has become a cornerstone of many workplaces and team cultures and is gradually paving its way in digital marketing, as well. 

Why language is important

Language is a very powerful tool for communication. The way you speak can have an immense influence on the audience. It’s not only about what you say but how you say it. Inclusivity is using people-centric language that empowers each and every member of your audience, making sure none of them feel excluded. 

The history of digital marketing and advertising demonstrated numerous times how the misuse of language resulted in a furious crowd. Many companies and celebrities got canceled because of their non-inclusive and offensive language. This is the very first thing marketers would want to avoid – to upset the audience. 

Principles of Using Inclusive Language

There are several important notions you must remember any time you address a certain community. Remembering these principles of inclusive language will help you write better content and please your audience. Guidelines for inclusive language:

  • Always acknowledge diversity within the group interactions (don’t generalize concepts about people)
  • Use language that focuses on individuals and avoid stereotypes
  • Mention personal attributes only when relevant to the context (rest of the time try avoiding it)
  • Focus on strengths that recognize resilience and abilities
  • Respect people’s preferences and avoid assumptions
  • Take into account the language implications
  • Let people and individuals speak for themselves whenever possible
  • Address and correct stereotypes and inappropriate language

Practical Examples of Inclusive Language in Content Creation

In English, there are many words that use gendered language, like waiter and waitress, businessman and businesswoman. Similarly, some words reflect discriminatory relations based on race, age, socioeconomic status, or abilities. While in the past, we did not pay much attention to it, today it is becoming a very crucial aspect of content writing and communication strategies. 

Let’s overview some practical examples of what you should do to use inclusive language. 

  1. Only use gendered words when appropriate. For example, you can use “chairman” to refer to a specific person who identifies as a man. If you are unsure about the gender preferences use Chair instead of Chairman. 
  2. Don’t use his/her when writing or speaking. For instance, if you are talking about a new employee, don’t say “his position or his opinion”, say “their position / their opinion”. 
  3. Avoid gender-specific references. Many writers often attribute gender to certain professions and roles. For example “female coworker”, “male flight attendant”, etc. It violates the principles of inclusive language unless the context allows it. 
  4. Don’t infantilize certain groups. Don’t refer to a group of young people as “girls in the office” or “boys in the office”. 
  5. Avoid referring to someone’s cultural background. If not necessary, don’t refer to someone as Asian or Nigerian, especially when introducing them to someone. Instead, if the context requires mentioning the nationality you can say “They are coming from Nigeria”, or a person of Nigerian descent. 
  6. Don’t refer to people as disabled. Saying a person is Schizophrenic, disabled, wheelchair-bound, or similar is offensive and ignores the inclusive language principles. You can instead mention that the person is experiencing poor mental health or physical health. 

What Should You Do to Use Inclusive Language in Your Writing

Writers will often forget about the fact that readers may not know as much as writers do. They may not have the same depth of understanding of the topic, or may not be familiar with the people you mention in your writings. Ignoring these factors may cause frustration in your audience and disrupt your user engagement rates. 

On the other hand, there are some general guidelines that can help you to use inclusive language in your writing. 

1. Avoid Acronyms

In general, acronyms make people confused, especially if they are part of a specific terminology. If you really need to use an acronym, make sure you define it in brackets. For example, when using ROI, mention in the brackets what it stands for (Return on Investment). 

2. Don’t Use Jargon & Expressions

Your audience may not have the same language knowledge as you do. They may not know the meaning behind the word “dope”, as English is not their first language and they learned academic English at school. Also, expressions and idioms are mostly used and understood by native speakers. Even in that case, not all native speakers will know all the idioms existing out there. Use plain language instead to make sure you convey your message correctly without confusing anyone from your audience. 

3. Introduce People You Mention

Assuming that everyone knows who Elon Musk is can be a serious mistake in content creation. There are some cultures around the globe that do not find Elon Musk, Twitter, and SpaceX interesting, hence they may not know or may not remember who he is. Whenever you mention a celebrity or famous person, make sure you add a short explanation of who they are. 

4. Use Simple Language

Some content writers think that writing with academic terminology and phrases makes their writings seem more serious and valuable. While it may be true for some part of the target audience it is generally very uncomfortable for readers. Some of your users may not know complex words and phrases or certain terminology. The golden rule in content writing is to write content that could be understood by a 6-grader. 

Platforms that Help With Inclusive Language

When you write a lot of content throughout the day it is not easy to filter out non-inclusive words and phrases that slip involuntarily. In certain cases, you may not even know that you violated inclusive language principles but it could become evident for one of your readers. There are some very helpful tools and platforms that can check the usage of inclusive language in your content. 


Textio is a content writing platform that assesses your writing against several different criteria. The score is determined based on the grammar, simplicity of the language you use, SEO-friendliness, and inclusive language, as well. 

Textio provides insights about bias and stereotypes used in your content and also provides team analytics. It is one of the leading companies among the inclusive language guardian platforms. 

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is the most popular content-writing plugin on WordPress. The plugin recently introduced new metrics for inclusive language. Similarly to their readability and SEO analyses, the inclusive language employs red, orange, and green lights for content writers’ guidance. The feature categorizes feedback based on age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status. 

For example, if you use the term “obese” in your writing, the inclusive language analysis by Yoast SEO will suggest alternative terms like “has a higher weight”, “higher-weight person”, etc. 

Final Thoughts

Inclusive language plays a crucial role in improving content marketing strategies. By using words and phrases that consider the diversity of audiences, content becomes more relatable and appealing to a broader reach. This approach also results in a sense of connection and inclusivity that encourages a more extensive and engaged audience. 

Using inclusive language in content marketing not only demonstrates a commitment to diversity but also helps in avoiding unintentional exclusion. Thanks to such an approach, content becomes more available to various demographics and thus earns the potential to generate increased interest, shares, and positive interactions.