“Almost everybody in the advertising business will tell you that there are more efficient ways to influence the consumer than writing copy.
But here’s something else that almost everybody agrees on: It has gotten harder and harder to build brand, move merchandise, convey a message, leave a lasting impression.”
– Michael Wolff, award-winning writer and contributor to Vanity Fair
Though it seems to state the obvious, the assertion that copywriting requires a copywriter is not a widely believed principle.
I worked with a client recently whose business targets a few different audiences. For example, he collaborates with similar businesses, but he also works with clients directly. I was editing some copy he’d written to appeal to that second group. What I found, though, were words targeted at the first group.
My client is an insider, so he didn’t think twice about using the industry lingo. What he meant was clear to him, and it would have made perfect sense to his collaborators. But the marketing piece wasn’t meant for that audience, and they wouldn’t be the ones reading it.
It’s tempting to use the lingo because so much meaning can be wrapped up in one word. That one word can save a lot of space and shorten your copy. But it also can shorten the attention span of readers who don’t get it. They’ll tune out and move on – to someone who understands them.
The piece sounded good, but one problem popped up several times throughout the copy, a problem that I’ve encountered frequently when editing pre-written copy.
DISCLAIMER: What I am about to present to you will be unpleasant. Side effects may include migraine, shortness of breath, and suicidal thoughts… if you’re an editor, that is. Continue at your own risk.
What you are about to read is an actual cover letter submitted for a full-time job – a job in the company’s communications department. It’s not just bad; it could be mistaken for spam if it hadn’t arrived with a completed application and a résumé. Check it out:
Besides the fact that your friends will make fun of you mercilessly on Facebook, did you realize that 54% of employers would think twice about hiring you if you make spelling and grammar mistakes in your tweets and posts?
More visitors are probably getting to your site through the articles you publish there rather than coming directly to your homepage.
According to an article on the Neiman Lab website (an article I found through one of my news feeds, not from visiting their homepage, by the way), the so-called side door – meaning an article or blog – is becoming more important than a site’s front door.
Though this analysis focused on the journalism industry, the lessons learned can be applied to any business website.
Now you can tell your friends about your ridic weekend with your tweeps when you were photobombing young couples on a date night (lolz!) without sounding like a total douche.
How can this be? you ask.
The Oxford Dictionaries Online officially recognized a bunch of words used primarily in the web-realm. They’ve been around for a while, so you probably know a lot of them. But now even the dictionary says they’re legit.
Here are a few that made the cut:→