We are currently drowning in a sea of words.
Because I make my living as a writer, I’m not complaining. But I do understand how overwhelming it can be.
If you’re marketing a product or service, words are your assistants.
Very important assistants, at that.
Use too many and you’ll bore your prospect.
Use too few and they’ll be unable to make an educated choice.
It is why you need to make…
The Economy of Words
Making sure every word is the right word is your ultimate goal in communicating your message.
Mark Twain famously said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
Your reader is more pressed for time than ever. This means you need to state your message quickly. You need to get to the point.
If you dwell upon details that really don’t make a difference to your reader, you risk losing her. If you take a paragraph to say what could be said in one sentence, you risk losing her.
You don’t want this to happen, which is why it’s so important to re-read what you’ve written in order to delete that which doesn’t need to be said.
Write Like You Talk
I’ve actually said this in many of my posts. A friendly tone in your writing will appeal to your reader more than a formal tone. Using simpler words will allow more people to understand what you’re trying to communicate.
However, if I really wrote the way I talked, my posts would rival the length of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
Anyone who has received email correspondence from me knows that often, I’m long-winded. I blame my loquacious full-blooded Italian mother but my father, the salesman, also had a little to do with it.
I have spent my life trying to get to the point.
So here’s your plan: write like you talk and then edit like a ruthless killer.
Ferret out those niggling words like “that” (which so often can be omitted) and phrases like “at this point in time” and either delete them or consolidate them (“now” is a great replacement for “at this point in time”).
A popular writer’s axiom says, “Write from your heart, edit with your head.”
It’s important to pour your heart out when you initially write anything, but then it’s also important to go back and clean up your words after what I call “the birthing process.”
Birthing is a messy business. It’s only after the blood is cleaned away that you can see how absolutely adorable the baby looks.
A Copywriter’s Copy Has One Purpose Only
And that is… to get the prospect to buy.
Copywriters use words to sell. That’s why it’s called “salesmanship-in-print.”
It’s easy to get caught up with the words. It’s easy to fall in love with your product or service and then wax poetic about them. That’s what happens when you fall in love.
You want to tell the entire world about it. And you want to spend hours telling them all the cool things about your beloved.
That happened to me. When I fell in love with my husband, I could hardly keep my mouth shut.
He was the greatest thing since sliced bread! Better than peanut butter and chocolate! And definitely better than any other guy I had ever dated in my entire life.
But people become bored fast when all you can sing is a one-note symphony.
It’s the same with your copy.
Your product may indeed be the most amazing product the world has ever seen, but you can’t go on and on about it. You have to focus on your reader.
You need to define what interests your reader and then speak to that interest. And then you must sell them on the idea that your product or service is just what they need.
I’ve used 652 words telling you this but I hope you’ve been sold on the idea that in order to get your message heard, you need to learn how to use your words economically.
You want to write in a way that will both educate your reader and convince her to buy what you’re selling.
So the next time you write anything, give yourself time to examine what you’ve written and ask yourself: “Is this word necessary or can I delete it? Can I say this with fewer words?”
You may be surprised how much you can delete. Pruning a plant ensures that it remains healthy and produces new growth. The same can be said for our writing.
Make it a habit to get rid of the “dead leaves and flowers” in your writing and you’ll enjoy lively copy that nurtures growth in your business. Your readers (and accountant) will love you for it.