Our #1 piece of advice to business owners writing words for anything

Nearly every problem we run into with client-written web copy, or Google AdWords set up by another agency, or even just email instructions, can all be fixed by following the instruction BE SPECIFIC.

Inevitably, the home page or brochure says something like,

We help you achieve success. Let’s do business together!

  1. How?  
  2. Why?

Here’s a real-life example from this week’s Risk Creative editing work:

“Your space is a representation of your business.” How? Of what aspects of their business, specifically? Also, we can say, “Your space is a representation” in fewer words:

Your space represents your brand and your values. 

Doesn’t that create a clearer picture in your head?

Keep asking how, what, when, why, and where until there’s nothing left to say. Write down the answers and then ask yourself which points are most important?

List them in order. Are some of them kind of saying the same thing? Find a way to combine them.

Are you focusing on yourself and your products/service/expertise instead of your client/their needs/the solution to their problems?

Now whittle it down to as few words as possible. This is where active writing comes into play.

Passive writing:  We went running.   Active writing: We ran.

Passive writing: We had been cutting hair for 10 years.  Active writing: We cut hair for 10 years. / We spent 10 years cutting hair.

Or, here’s an example from this week. An interior design client’s web copy said,

“Our ability to work together in synchronicity sets us apart and provides you with jaw-dropping creations.”

I whittled this down to,

Our team’s synchronous work style sets us apart, with jaw-dropping results.

We often don’t need words like is, was, that. They weaken a sentence, watering it down.

Visit some websites, read their copy, and look for vague writing. Then grab a major newspaper and read its headlines and copy for comparison. Super specific, right?

After trying out these tips, if you’re still having trouble, email us. We can sift through your writing, edit it, hand it back explaining what we did and why, in just a few minutes.

By Natasha Clark, Creative Director of Risk Creative. Republication is welcome only with attribution and a direct link to http://www.riskcreative.com. Thank you in advance for good behaviour. 🙂

 

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