Archive for the ‘writing’ Tag

An Inconvenient Truth* #1: Don’t Make ‘em Think.   Leave a comment

The Promobabe has spun many a marketing tale in her time, much of it inside the wild world of television promotion, where we cranked out promo content on a fast-moving, never-ending conveyer belt.

Despite the Pop-Tart like nature of the work (heat, eat, repeat), I learned a critical thing about that applies to every audience in every industry – at least when it comes to marketing and advertising.

Don’t make ‘em think.

Oh, I hear some of you saying, so you think your audience isn’t as smart as a fifth grader?

Au contraire, dear Reader. I say this Inconvenient Truth with the utmost respect – and compassion – for my customers. Because the reality is:

Everyone’s busy.
Duh. Who isn’t? But for us marketing mavens, it means always remembering that no one has the time or the interest to figure out complex or muddled marketing messages.

Nope, I don’t want you to “dumb it down” – by writing stupid, inane, or insufficient copy. Obviously, marketing the latest robotics for brain surgery will be more in-depth than an ad for fiber-enriched Cheetos.

It does mean creating easy-to-comprehend content that’s always consistent with your company’s brand. Bottom line: Give your tired, overwhelmed audience a break by speaking clearly and directly to them. How?

Keep it simple!
The KISS principle is every marketer’s guiding light. As my first boss used to continually remind me: Keep it simple, stupid. She was annoying, but right.

Take out the shop talk. Avoid the acronyms. Weed out the waxing on…and on …about every detail of your product/service. Remember, really good advertising doesn’t provide all the information – it provides the promise of what makes your product/service so cool – and the push to excite your target market about your company.

Quick test: Ask a few people who fit your target audience, but don’t work for your company (or at the very least, for your department) to take a gander at your upcoming marketing, before you give it the final stamp of approval.

After one look, have them tell you what they got out of the ad. Can they basically articulate what’s unique about your product or service? What makes it good? Why they should buy it?

Or did they have to think too much?

Next Inconvenient Truth: Know thyself. Stay tuned.

*ignore at your own marketing peril


Your English Teacher Was Wrong.   2 comments

Hate to break it to you, but Mrs. Marple, your 8th grade English teacher, put you on the road to utter boredom.  At least when it comes to compelling ad copy.

You know all the rules that were drilled into our heads:

  • Use complete sentences!
  • Don’t ever end a sentence with a preposition!
  • Do not use contractions!
  • Write in the third person!
  • Give lots and lots of details!
  • Do NOT break the rules!

OK, here are Promobabe’s Rules for copywriting that works: 

Love the word “you.”  Sprinkle it liberally throughout your copy.

  Talk to one person at a time – not a group.

 Envision the prospect you’re talking to.  You’re having a conversation, not giving a speech.

 Do not use “do not.”  Or “we are.”  Or “I am.”  Stop channeling Mrs. Marple and embrace the fact that when you’re writing ad copy, contractions are your friends.  They make everything so much more friendly and readable.

 Too many exclamation points!!!!!  It’s overwhelming!!!! Unless you’re a 14 year old girl on Facebook!!!!!  Or wanna feel like a 14 year old girl again!!!!

 Sentence fragments are good.  Sometimes very good.  They add flow and rhythm to your copy.

 Ending sentences with a preposition will NOT result in jail time or the removal of your Writing Rights (in most states).

 White space is also your friend.  Be sure to break text up into paragraphs and/or bullet points for readability.  Your bleary-eyed customers will thank you for it.

And remember, now that you have the rules – feel free to break them anytime.  If you have a really good reason – and Mrs. Marple isn’t around. 

Posted August 16, 2010 by promobabe in Copywriting, Creative Services

Tagged with , , ,

%d bloggers like this: