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.

Whenever you’re ready…here are a few ways we can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you’ll land more clients:

1) Follow Tom Ruwitch on LinkedIn and Facebook and (if not subscribed already) join our email list.

2) Attend our free training: “How to Harness the Magnetic Power of Storytelling…” Discover how to transform marketing from a confusing, resource-draining hassle into something that’s simple, fun AND productive. Details and registration here.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.

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