What's on the iPod: Still and Always Will by Vintage Trouble
It's when I realized just how easily people can fall afoul with clients on their messaging. While I want to tell them I'm worth their money, I have to show that instead. And it's when blog posts like Cathy Miller's come in handy. Cathy takes on these throw-away words, but in a great, creative twist, turns them into assets.
However, most of us should just stay the hell away from them. Misuse is too rampant to unleash these words on the masses. And unless you're willing to commit Cathy's excellent advice to memory, don't use them.
Think buzz words aren't a problem? Try reading this:
Super-special Writing Services is a robust, full-service writing firm dedicated to bring you out-of-the-box ideas and cutting-edge creativity. Our writers are detail-oriented problem solvers and team players who create a proactive synergy that can deliver a paradigm shift within your organization.
My question -- do I want my paradigm to be shifted? I'm never sure.
So how do you promote yourself in your tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn updates, or in emails without going there? Let's start with that same message, rewritten:
At Super-special Writing Services, we are in love with ideas. We get our kicks by creating the most impactful, customized message that reflects who you are as a business and how you benefit your customers. We change perspectives with words and help you get noticed.
What's changed? The "fluff" words are gone. Nothing in the message confuses, and none of the words are extraneous. None are what my husband and his colleagues call "bullshit" words -- words that add nothing to the message other than muddying it.
So when crafting your next social media message or your latest email sales blast, keep these things in mind:
Keep it short. If it's a letter of introduction (LOI), give enough information to state why you're writing, give a little background, and show that you know their business. Otherwise, sales messages shouldn't go over say 350 words. Remember, just enough info to get them interested. Think that's too little? This blog post, to this point, is 420 words. Too much for an email, for sure.
Check each word. Your editing skills are essential here. Look at each sentence and each word. Is that the best way you can say it? No? Then fix it. Remember to pass it by your own bullshit meter -- if someone sent you this message, would you believe it?
Lose all buzz words. I know a handful of large companies who are "getting real" with their messaging -- cutting out buzz words, corporate speak, etc. Why? Because they see their customers wanting a stronger connection. Still, maybe paradigm shifting is what you do best. Guess what? If you say it, you won't be doing it for this potential client. Just say "radically change" or any other more basic meaning of the same phrase. Show how you're shifting paradigms without using those words. Please. I beg you.
Check your verys at the door. Very is an overused, under-performing word. It's a place filler. It says nothing. Moreover, it shouts "I'm not creative enough to find a better word." The same goes for "that", which is also overused. It creates too many pauses in your message. Example: "It's the brand that Brad Pitt uses." Just sounds better to say "It's the brand Brad Pitt uses."
Don't forget the value. Seriously, if you're sending a message that doesn't tell your audience what the value is to them, skip it. You're wasting your time. They want to hear the benefit to them, not a laundry list of how wonderful you are.
Look at your last email message to a potential client. What words can you cut out? What about that message works? Are there particular buzz words you're attached to? Why?