Write it like you say it so everyone gets it

January 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

It amazes me how companies use a completely different language when it comes to their written marketing stuff which should be directly connecting with customers. They don’t write the way they talk and people have to work too hard to understand what the company’s offering.

If you see anything on my site that falls foul of what I’m about to say – please pull me up on it. I mean it. I don’t want to write anything I wouldn’t say.

A good example of the ‘different written language’ I’m talking about was nearly used the other day when a friend of mine wanted to complain about the shoddy service she was receiving from a company who was supposed to be supplying some wedding invitations for her. She started writing a flowery email to them and asked my advice, basically about the ‘big’ words she was using. There was nothing wrong with the email but I asked her what she’d say if she was talking to them about the problem. Let’s just say, we got to the point quicker by writing with words of one syllable and her message was all the more powerful for it.

There is a place for formal language – I suppose solicitors still have to use it but not many solicitors read my blog and they’ll ignore what I’m saying anyway. I’m talking to and about the people who are trying to get attention via their marketing and will struggle if they use fancy language.

I know when we’re writing we can be more thoughtful. I know when we’re talking we can often think afterwards ‘I wish I’d said that’. But if we use a mixture of those two elements in down-to-earth language we can get a good formula.

Crafting a direct message that gets to the point and dumps unnecessary frills that the customer doesn’t have time or energy – or will, frankly – to read is a skill. I think it should be a law of marketing.

I suppose a good test is to ask yourself: would ‘I’ read it?



This is a true story

February 2, 2012 § 1 Comment

Storytelling is what brought me into the world of journalism. Storytelling is what keeps me writing and storytelling is what works in terms of catching and keeping a reader’s attention.

Once upon a long while ago, when I hadn’t decided what I wanted to do with my life, I read a newspaper report about the killing of a young newspaper boy. What was remarkable about that story was the way it was written. I was tearful by the time I finished it and decided that writing stories was what I wanted to do with my life. That is, I wanted to write stories that could move a reader in the way that story had moved me.

If it that sounds a bit dramatic, I probably was at the time. It’s true that now I don’t tend to write stories that make people cry! But I still believe that stories have a force that can move their reader. Everybody has a story to tell and I make it my job to find that story and write it in a way that the reader wants to hear.

If you tell your target audience you’re the best in your field they probably won’t take much notice because they’ve heard it all before. Same if you say you’re offering best value. Same if you tell them they need you. You’ve got to do better than that to get their attention because your competitors are saying pretty similar stuff. You need a differentiator to get them to know you, to like you, to trust you and to buy you.

Your story is going to make the difference and set you apart from the rest. Storytelling is the key to communicating with your customers.


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