"A classic psychological thriller."
Those are the words you will see in virtually every description of my day job's upcoming production.
I could use other words to describe the show:
"An examination of trust and social change set in the turbulent 1960's."
"A look at the internal conflict of a woman suddenly struck with blindness."
Those two statements fairly accurately reflect what the show is about. But really, who wants to see a show described like that?
I describe the show as a psychological thriller because . . . a lot of people like psychological thrillers.
That's what smart marketing is, describing your art in a way that makes people want to know more about it. Basically it's a magnet that you use to draw people closer.
The words you use are a vital component of that.
Think about it this way.
One of the biggest challenges for small arts organizations is building an audience that consists of someone OTHER then their friends, family, etc.
Then I read the way they describe their show (on a postcard, the web, whatever) and it's full of jargon, overly complex terms, etc. it basically screams to the world: THIS ISN'T FOR YOU, IT'S FOR US. DON'T COME SEE IT.
One of the easiest ways to avoid the "jargon trap" is to share the words you are using to describe a show with someone who has no particular interest in your art form and ask them, "based on what you read, do you want to know more about the show?"
Their answer may surprise you. I've done this with people and had them tell me that based on what I had written about a show it made them actively NOT want to see it . . . not exactly the intended effect.
Just remember, every word you write about your art counts. Don't blow it by trying to be the smartest kid in the room.