Dump the Grammar Guide
Back in high school I had a basketball coach who didn’t win any spelling bees or grammar contests.
Once, after we failed to run the play he called during practice, he stormed onto the court, screaming:
“Jeez, yous guys! Don’t you know the American language!?”
Smart-ass kids that we were, we used to mock Coach for mangling the English language.
All these years later, though, I remember Coach fondly as a good communicator.
Sure, he used small, simple words. Sure he was grammatically challenged. But when Coach spoke, we ALWAYS got the point.
I thought of Coach recently after getting an email pitch from a sales guy who wanted me to advertise in his magazine.
Here’s how the pitch began:
“(Our magazine) has been an apex platform reaching out to 45,000 qualified subscribers in the U.S, offering a renewed aspect in understanding the latest innovations and technologies in the Education industry. Following a peer learning approach, (our magazine) spearheads in highlighting education industry’s latest trends and technologies, and brings forth the ideas and unique offerings of market leaders to assist education experts in establishing institutions alike.”
My first reaction: Jeez, thems some fancy words and big sentences!
My next reaction: What in the hell is he talking about? (Pardon my American).
I’m sorry to pick on this poor guy.
His note was only the latest among gazillions of rotten emails I have received. I just happened to open his as I was preparing to dream up a new weekly email.
This guy’s not unique. Rotten, overwritten, lingo-laden copy litters emails, websites, social media posts, letters, brochures, broadcast advertisements and every other form of marketing content on earth.
It’s always been like that.
And here’s what makes the problem worse: Bad copywriters think they’re good copywriters because they learned how to “write well” in school.
Forget about it. Forget about those grammar lessons. Forget about those complex sentences. Wipe from your memory the difference between a gerund and a participle. None of that helps you write good marketing copy.
Here’s the bottom line: If you want to write smart, effective marketing copy, quit trying to sound so smart.
Drop the fancy phrases and latest lingo. Don’t tell me you have an “apex platform.” Don’t tell me you offer a “renewed aspect.” Don’t say you “spearhead in highlighting…”
Just spit it out. Clearly. Concisely. Without clutter. Keep it simple…
…So anyone who understands the American language will ALWAYS get the point.
p.s. I help coaches, consultants, and business leaders discover and deliver powerful stories that captivate prospects and inspire them to act. Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:
1) Connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook and (if not subscribed already) join our email list.
2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”
3) Become a Story Power VIP in the Content Transformation Academy: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Weekly masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.
4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.
5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.
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