Category Archives: Words Which Sell

Nothing Fits “All of Your Needs”

The phrase appears everywhere.  Our service or products will fit “all of your needs.”  Wow!  This is it.  I’ve hit the Holy Grail.  ALL of my needs.  Where do I sign up??  I need a new wardrobe.  I need someone to wash my dog.  I need more time to watch Shark Tank Tuesdays.  I need a vacation.  And on and on…

The reality is, nothing fits “all of your needs.”  Not any one person, company, or product.  A search of Google yields about 121,000,000 results for “all of your needs.”  That large a number says that there are a lot of people and businesses that believe they can do it all.  (Humorous sidetrack:  the number one search result on Google for “all of your needs” returns a link to a Bible passage from Philippians 4:19 that says, “And my God will meet all your needs.” Score one for the big guy.)

Delete trite phrases

Delete trite phrases

One of the lessons that should be taught to content writers during their Marketing 101 course is to avoid using the phrase “all of your needs” in copy.  Forever.  In fact, there should be a law against using such a trite phrase that’s guaranteed to underdeliver.  Besides “all of your needs,” the Harvard Business Review released their own Bizspeak Blacklist of overused word phrases that display an absence of actual thought.  Some offenders:

  • Think outside the box

  • Mission-critical

  • Hit the ground running

  • Push the envelope

  • Value-added

  • Level the playing field

SHIFT Communications took overuse of a trite phrase one step further and sampled 62,768 press releases from 2013.  Their goal was to find the top 50 most overused words marketers penned in press releases.  Do you use (or overuse) any of these:  new, first, most, leading, best, great, largest, better, special, or better?  If so, you are not alone.  They made the 50 most overused words in press releases list for 2013 along with mobile, professional, current, real, and top.

4 Steps To Avoid Trite Marketing Phrases

  1. Describe what makes your item or service unique from others like it.  This is your chance to take a 30-second elevator pitch and translate into a few short sentences.  Some items to cover in your written description may include a guarantee, something that will be fixed, benefits when used, and specialties that will stand out from the crowd.

  1. Wrap your product around words that trip the senses.  Effective copy crafts words that make the reader believe they cannot possibly live without the product or service.  Paint a word picture that appeals to one or more of the five senses.  Create a sensory experience with words that let’s the reader see a vision, remember a smell, or desire to touch.  For inspiration, click on a few of the products from one of the best eCommerce brands today that knows how to appeal to the senses.  The Duluth Trading Company uses humor through the words on their t-shirt product descriptions.  One solves the problem of confronting the unsightly shock of happening upon someone with a much-feared “Plumbers Butt.”

  1. Share a true story or testimonial.  For marketers, nothing is better than word-of-mouth referrals where one customer sells another on a product or service.  BazaarVoice, a leader in gathering product or service reviews, reports that items with positive feedback convert 12.5% better than those without.  Let the praises of your customers sing for others and add their words in a quote format to your marketing copy.

  1. Appeal to the imagination.  The art of poetry is lost.  Bring wordsmithing back with words that evoke images for your products or services.  Words to Use is a website that can help remove writer’s block and find the right words about anything.  Can you describe a rose?

While you won’t be able to entirely eliminate trite phrases from your writing, editing with a mind toward using words with sizzle will bring your marketing prose to the next level.

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Filed under Blog Writing Tips, Content, Descriptive Writing, Narrative Writing, Revising & Proofreading, The Writing Process, Words Which Sell, Writer's Block

The Versatile Voice: How to change your writing to match your client or audience

My Web WritersVersatile Writer

Just as an artist can portray the image of another person in their work, so too can a writer. One of the important roles of a freelance writer is to be able to write in their client’s voice. This is important for creating a consistent brand and to ensure that content flows smoothly between the web site, blog, social media and marketing materials. But for writers who excel at creating a very distinct voice for their own writing, learning to take on the voice of a client can be challenging. Here are several ways to help create a versatile voice that can be shaped to fit the personality and style of many different people.

Learn the Lingo

Every industry has its own set of commonly used words and terminologies. As a writer, you’re not expected to be familiar with such terms from the start, but you should make the effort to learn them as you go. This will help you to use the terms accurately and create a natural voice for your clients. Aside from common terms, each business will also have its own preference for how it refers to certain aspects of the business. For example, should you use the word clients or customers? Does the business prefer a certain acronym or shortened version of its name? It’s important to learn these preferences and to use them throughout each writing project to create a genuine voice.

Feel the Rhythm

This is subtle, but important. The rhythm of writing from one person to another can vary greatly. Some people prefer lengthy and complex sentences while others keep each thought short and simple. In order to portray the same rhythm of your client’s own writing, you should review any work they have written. Take note to their particularities. Maybe they like to start a paragraph by asking a question or maybe they’re very liberal with their use of exclamation points. All of these small nuances have a big impact on the overall feel and style of the writing.

Be Consistent

Switching back and forth between multiple writing projects for a variety of clients can make creating a consistent voice a challenge. You need to remember the style that best represents each client and be able to quickly get into this mindset every time you write for them. For readers to believe that you are that person or business, you must remain consistent in your voice. Even the most subtle changes in terminology or sentence structure can make the transition in content awkward and disingenuous. Once you write several pieces for a client, be sure to reference them when starting your next project. This will refresh their voice and reset your writing style.

The job of a freelance writer is no easy task. You must develop a unique writing style to first get noticed, but then be able to let go of this style to take on the voice of a client at a moment’s notice. The ability to be versatile in your writing is invaluable. Remember to familiarize yourself with your client’s commonly used terminology, use their writing rhythm and be consistent with this style across all projects. ~Stephanie


Other Posts:

Reflections from a Curator- Ideas for Capturing Audience

Attention-Getting Phrases and Buzz Words

Tell a Better Story: Tips and Tricks from Mark Twain

Content for Less, Fat Brain Toys Involves Customers in Content Creation

How to Write Marketing Content that Americans Like

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Filed under Audience, Capturing Audience, Words Which Sell

Learn from Websites with Above-the-Fold Content

By My Web Writers

It’s amazing how many e-commerce companies don’t offer content in the top half of their web pages.  A picture is worth a thousand words, but an Internet page without words is an opportunity missed and it leaves room for confusion.

When we write content for e-commerce sites, the ultimate goal is to entice consumers to buy the website’s products or services.  Written content is an additional tool in your conversion toolbox.

Let’s see how above-the-fold content successfully reaches out to customers on the following websites:

Starbucks

Starbucks warms its readers up to a cupful of coffee with its content.

Starbucks

The adjectives and story go down smoothly and the font sizes and styles are easy on the eyes.  There’s an obvious call to action that drives the reader deeper into the purchasing funnel.  Starbucks doesn’t confuse the reader with too many choices.

Baby Einstein

Each page at Baby Einstein ties together what you see with how you use it. Baby Einstein

Sharing ideas about how to play with and teach baby using Baby Einstein products is exactly what new parents and Google appreciate.

Fanimation

You can use words to better direct traffic through your site. Fanimation

Fanimation invites customers to take personal tours through the major categories in their fan store.

American Spice

AS Baking Content

 

The content on this American Spice category page marries baking with memories from a certain time of year.  You can create emotional and psychological connections to categories or products with word pictures.  We like the play on the words, “Hot Deals” with spices warming up customers.  However, the link takes buyers to a horizontal category page verses a vertical product page. This link might serve better at the bottom of the baking supplies page, after customers have searched through all of the products, but still are looking for more suggestions. We’d also change the graphic’s wording into two sentences.

Amazon

Amazon isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done and it ranks at the top of search engine results. Amazon tv

Notice that Amazon also moves buyers deeper into television verticals through the content linking.  Some people notice words before they notice pictures.  Don’t forget the words!

White CastleWhite Castle

White Castle has a social media presence to go with their yummy pictures.  They haven’t forgotten to make your mouth-water with words that sell burgers!  Notice they suggest how to freeze and reheat sliders.  Did you know how to do that?  Now, you might buy a few extra just to try a reheated, late-night snack at home.

White Castle offers recipes and videos to sell even more burgers. Show people how to eat and they will eat!

 Your Favorite?

What are some of your favorite above-the-fold content pieces?  Share them with us!


Other Posts:

How do I write content based on buyer personas?

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

Prioritize Your Social Media Channels

10 Content Tips for ZMOT Experts

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases for E-commerce Content

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Filed under Capturing Audience, E-Tail Category Content, Website Linking, Words Which Sell

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases for E-commerce Content

by My Web Writerscall to action

“Click here!” “Buy today!” “Limited time only!” We’ve seen them all, and ignored most of them. Not all e-commerce call-to-action phrases are creative. Most of them are incredibly cliché and really don’t motivate the reader to do much of anything.

You want to be different. You want to stand out. In order to do this put on your thinking cap and let your creative juices flow. Don’t use the same words that everyone else uses. Turn to a thesaurus if you need to and make sure you’re thinking outside the box.

Try these 25 effective, call-to-action phrases in your ecommerce content:

  1. Just hit Reply and we’ll email you the details.
  2. Entice him with x, y, and z.
  3. Impress when you dress in x, y, and z.
  4. Think (insert topic here).
  5. Get the 411.
  6. Come hang with us.
  7. Write!
  8. Tell us you want it.
  9. Put it in my closet.
  10. Use it ASAP.
  11. Make my friends jealous.
  12. Explore the product.
  13. Book a table.
  14. Take a chance today.
  15. Achieve more now.
  16. Build my collection.
  17. Learn how to profit.
  18. Improve my life.
  19. Make me (look, smell, dress, etc.) better.
  20. Check it out.
  21. Some of our customer favorites are x, y, and z.
  22. Try popular styles like x, y, and z.
  23. Our top sellers, such as X and Y, receive outstanding reviews.
  24. Shop for other items like x including y and z.
  25. Our most linked to products are x, y, and z.

Remember that calls to action aren’t only about the words. Experiment with fonts, size, and placement on the page.  Feel free to be creative while enticing shoppers to buy more!

~Natalie

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Filed under Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Merchandising, Product Descriptions, Words Which Sell

Put a Little Romance in Your Vocabulary- 10 Synonyms for Love

by My Web WritersLove in Paris

People commonly extoll the need for more words for love in the English language. For example, Counselor Sheryl Paul  argues that so many people struggle in love because our culture is committed to a single word and a single ideal for what we feel for each other. Others point to the plethora of words meaning love in other languages. While these points certainly have merit, perhaps English is getting a bad wrap. After all, one thesaurus offers 47 synonyms for the common word “love.” This Valentine’s Day (I’m assuming, can be cut if not and start from:) spice up your love life and your vocabulary by using a different, or more specific, word to express feelings of love.

love languagesHere are ten strong synonyms to convey love:

Adulation: Adulation implies enthusiastic praise and flattery. Sometimes it even connotes worship. Offer your love adulation. Write him or her a letter showering them with praises and flattering reasons why you love them. Describe a character’s expressions as adulation. Adulation is probably best for more established loves. Adulation too early can come across too strongly.

Affection: Affection can mean an emotional fondness, closeness, or concern. It can also connote physical caresses. Lovers can offer one affection, but the word can also be used to express love between friends, family members, and colleagues.

Amour: Amour spells romance. Call an affair, liaison, or passionate love affair and amour, either as a euphemism or to imply the ardor of the connection. You could also call someone with a tendency to fall in love (or lust) amorous.

Appreciation: Granted, it’s not as sexy as “amour,” but appreciation can convey love in a way that lets the other person know they aren’t taken for granted. Tell someone you love you appreciate them to express your gratitude or to acknowledge the reasons why you’re glad to have them around. Appreciation works well for co-workers and friends as well as more intimate relationships.

Enchantment: Enchantment means magic. Use enchantment to imply the magnetic quality of a lover or particular traits that captivate.

Fidelity: Fidelity, or faithfulness in a relationship conveys allegiance, ardor, or constancy of attachment. Fidelity is commonly used to express steadfastness in marriage or family, but it can also be romantic. Let your partner know that you’re on his or her team.

Friendship: Friendship or companionship adds affection and love to many relationships. Let your friends know you love them, or tell your partner she/he is your best friend. Though less fiery than romance, friendship is often equally satisfying.

Infatuation: It’s just a little crush. Infatuation can express that tightness in your chest you feel around a new love. Describe an early or fleeting love as an infatuation. Or, use infatuation as a way to describe an old love that still gives the lovers butterflies.

Respect: Respect implies admiration or feelings of equality or appreciation. Respect is a key component of love. Describe a strong love as imbued with respect. Telling someone you respect them can also be a way to convey your feelings to a colleague or friend.

 Zeal: Zeal is an enthusiastic devotion to a person or a cause. Often zeal has negative connotations, but it doesn’t have to. Describe the love of someone coming on too strong as zealous or the lover as a zealot. Or, you could express your strong love or admiration as a zealous attachment.

Use one of the above words to portray love with more nuance and clarity or to express yourself with more creativity. You might also be interested in our tips on how to Tell a Better Story. Use our Call to Action Verbs in connection with these synonyms for love for writing that captures ardor, enchantment, or steadfast affection as well as your audience’s attention.  ~Kasey

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Filed under Keywords, Words Which Sell, Writer's Block, Writing Resources

When Bad Jokes Happen to Good People

by My Web Writers

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “A difference of taste in jokes is a great strain on the affections.” While a bad joke with friends and family can be forgotten, with potential customers you might have just one chance to win them over.  Because senses of humor vary, using humor cautiously is in your best interest. That said, good comedy can evoke emotions that connect people to your purpose.

A Little Goes a Long Way

When writing funny copy, a little humor goes a long way. You know that person in your circle of friends who overuses bad puns, as though by telling every joke, eventually he or she will get a laugh? A little bit goes a long way, especially in marketing copy. Not only do you not want to overload your writing with humor and detract from the credibility of your content, subtle humor often reads better, showing your sophisticated skills.

One way to simplify your humor for a bigger impact is by choosing a consistent style. Consider the Allstate “Mayhem” commercials. The ads each feature actor Dean Winters as different embodiments of “mayhem”–a teen driver, heavy winter snow, termites, and so on.

The phrasing in the commercials features eloquent and funny descriptions of the disasters about to befall drivers or homeowners, but the humor lies most in the deadpan delivery. Further, the consistency of the different ads emphasizes the humor and creates strong branding for the company. In your copy, you can employ these same strategies by devising a unified comedic tone or running gag to use along with your stylesheet.

Consider Negative Reactions

If you consider your customer demographics, hopefully you can avoid a joke that offends unanticipated readers, but you should still consider how your writing might be read as distasteful rather than funny. For example, last year KIA ran a print ad that intended to depict the two sides of their new cars. The ad featured a cartoon strip of a teacher talking to a student and seeing her on one side as a little girl and on the other as a sexualized teenager. The company faced a big backlash because a large number of people thought the ad was inappropriate at best. In this case, failing to consider the implications of the joke forced KIA to deal with an offended public. Especially when joking about gender, race, politics, or religion, think through how others might read your humor, or avoid these jokes altogether.

Keep it Positive

All told, using comedy that is on the light side is most likely to make your readers and potential customers smile. By using jokes that refrain from making fun of a particular person or group of people, you depict your company as friendly and trustworthy rather than gossipy or mean. Upbeat jokes also work well with call-to-action marketing copy, so you can draw the reader in with humor and use active writing to bring in a sale.

Finally, remember to read your humorous copy aloud. Your writing should capture the tone and timing of the joke as though you were telling it to your reader in person.

~Kasey

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Filed under Advertorial Writing, Audience, Content Marketing, Email Campaigns, Marketing, Press Release Writing, Television Script Writing, Video Production, Words Which Sell

Nab These Call to Action Verbs

By My Web Writers

Spice Up Your Meta Descriptions

After writing your fiftieth, meta description using the verbs “buy”, “look”, and “find”, you’re probably snoring.  Imagine how customers feel.  If just one of the below “vacation rentals” entries sparkled, it would capture a gold medal for creativity and extra site visits.

Capture Visitors with Enticing Action Verbs

Retailers lose income opportunities when potential customers ignore blah snippets.  Even a lower ranked snippet can capture additional clicks if its meta description and titles are alluring. Bookmark these engaging verbs for use in your web writing efforts.

Absorb Accept Acquire
Amaze Add Ask
Attract Bestow Borrow
Browse Charge Claim
Clean Click Clip
Collide Cook Copy
Create Deliver Design
Determine Discover Disrobe
Download Dream Drive
Earn Embark Empty
Engage Enroll Execute
Extract Fall Fatten
Visit Flirt Follow
Fondle Gallop Gamble
Gather Gobble Grab
Guess Hobble Hop
Hurdle Hurl Hustle
Inquire Jingle Juggle
Jump Learn Lease
Lie Listen Locate
Lose Move Nab
Obtain Park Peek
Polish Print Publish
Punt Push Query
Realize Redeem Refresh
Register Rent Sample
Save Search Seek
Shimmy Skip Slink
Smell Snap Sneak
Speak Steal Stomp
Store Swallow Trample
Uncover Unveil Watch
Wet Whisk Win

Shake up the use of verbs to capture more clicks and entertain your customers!

~Jean

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Filed under Content, Descriptive Writing, E-Tail Category Content, Persuasive Essay, Product Descriptions, Words Which Sell