Tag Archives: Blog Writing Tips

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

Attention Web Writers: Viewers Scan the Web, but Don’t Typically Read It

Heatmap indicating viewers eye pattern scanning a document

by My Web Writers

Web writers, how do you keep a viewer scanning your Web page?  Formulate straightforward, concise, and organized content.  Viewers don’t want to read a book; they want quick information at their finger tips without having to browse too much.  Thus, they scan the Web, but don’t read text word for word.

An eye-tracking study reveals that viewers typically scan Web pages in an F-shaped pattern.  This means that the majority of people scan the left side and the beginning of the page.  Appeal visually to the reader by utilizing the following tools:

  • Relevant headings
  • Short paragraphs
  • Bulleted lists
  • Related graphics
  • Informative natural links

Relevant Headings
Limiting paragraphs to one subject per paragraph enables you to label the paragraph with a relevant heading.  This assists the user in quickly evaluating whether the subject applies to the topic they want to know more about.

Short Paragraphs
Merely breaking up large amounts of content into paragraphs is not enough.  Stick to short paragraphs with concise writing that forms a connection with the viewer.  Rather than using a literary style of writing, use everyday language that is easy to understand, yet generates interest to read further.

Bulleted Lists
Bulleted lists are an effective format to display a series of items because an individual scanning the document can visually digest the content at a glance.  Phrases and sentences are most commonly bulleted.  If order is important, numbering the list is preferable.

Related Graphics
Incorporating a small to medium sized graphic image into your document is good as long as it relates to the topic.  Add a caption underneath the graphic to create a relationship between the image and the text.  An image grabs the viewer’s attention and increases the probability that they will continue reading.  It can also lend credibility to the subject matter.

Informative Natural Links
Hyper links are an indicator to viewers whether the content is credible.  Links allow the viewer to dig deeper into the topic if desired.  Link to Web pages that are reliable and contain accurate information.  Fast response time for hyper links is important to retain the user’s attention.  Linking to Web pages within a website aids in keeping a user on the site longer.

~Kris

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Filed under Blog Writing Tips, Web Writers, Website Linking

Avoid Sensationalism and Write with Integrity

by My Web Writers

Writing with integrity insinuates that your writing captures the reader’s attention with snappy adjectives and adverbs that are descriptive, yet accurate.  Definitely make your title intriguing and eye catching, but don’t fall into the sensationalist trap of inaccurate shock value tactics to entice the reader to click the link, and fail to deliver content that matches the title.  Do you draw on facts in your writing or do you use exaggerated language to sensationalize the writing?  Let me give you two examples:

“The ominous waves from the giant Tsunami in Japan were unprecedented and swallowed hundreds, maybe thousands of unsuspecting people in one village.”

“The largest offshore earthquake in Japanese history measuring an ominous 8.9 magnitude unleashed a giant 23-foot tsunami, and officials have confirmed 110 dead in Sendai City with 350 people still missing.”

Both sentences are in regard to the same subject matter, however, the first sentence is vague, gives little factual details, and leaves the interpretation of the disaster open to over-hyping generalizations.  The second sentence maintains similar descriptive wording, yet includes facts that bolster the content and gives the reader reference points to understand the actual event.

Journalism and politics commonly fall prey to sensationalistic writing and speech practices to evoke certain feelings and sway the public toward a conclusion based upon sweeping generalizations and rare occurrences, instead of proven facts, real statistics, and widespread circumstances.

Be a writer with integrity by crafting a clever title that pertains to the content.  Grab your reader’s attention with interesting, factual, and relevant substance to your piece of work.  Then leave them with a quick summary or conclusion that thoughtfully wraps up the subject.  If you need writing assistance with integrity, turn to My Web Writers to help maximize your website’s potential.

~Kris

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Top 10 Blog Pre-Writing Questions for CEO’s

by My Web Writers

Are you a blog writer looking for help in generating questions to ask clients in order to produce the best possible results? If so, below is a questionnaire for your client to fill out to assist you in your professional writing efforts.

Are you a CEO seeking to hire a blog writer? If so, answering these 10 questions about your company will jump start the process, and aide the writer in delivering you the desired results.

1. How would you describe your business?
2. What is important for customers to know about your company?
3. What 10 words best describe your product or service?
4. Who are your ideal/best customers?
5. What customers/market would you like to start targeting?
6. What is your geographic market? (International, National, Regional, Local)
7. Who are your major competitors?
8. What distinguishes your company from the competition?
9. What style or feel do you want your blogs to have?
10. How many blogs do you want written? (Per week, per month)

Starting with better information delivers better information.

~Kris

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