“Don’t Write So That You Can Be Understood, Write So You Can’t Be MISunderstood”

Write so you can’t be MISunderstood

Like President William Howard Taft, I respect strive to write CLEARLY, first and foremost.  Whether writing a website, an article, an advertisement , a radio commercial, or a white paper.  It is the first job of the communicator to make absolutely sure his words are understood precisely.  So Write Clearly and Prosper.

"Never trust anyone you don’t understand"  Jack Trout

If this isn't the top quote for copywriters to look to, it damn well should be.  First, it motivates all of us, Master Copywriter and rookie alike, to be our best.  Plus, it admonishes us as to the ultimate risks of sloppy writing.  You lose trust, you lose readers, you lose sales, you lose everything.

Far too often, even when we think we're speaking or writing clearly, we use words and phrases that can be misconstrued, misunderstood or worse.  This sloppiness brings on problems.  In a personal conversation, you run the risk of hurting or offending your friends.  In marketing, you run the risk of losing customers before they ever do business with you.

If your goal is to get a better response to your marketing and advertising, read on.


How To Write Clearly Effective Websites or Ads

First of all, some of you may be under the impression that writing for business or writing for the web is easy – that most people can do it well.  This could not be further from the truth.  No less a figure than Aldous Huxley, poet and celebrated author of Brave New World suggests, “It is easier to write ten effective sonnets than one effective advertisement.”  He knows of what he speaks; Mr Huxley is an ex-copywriter.Following is a short checklist to refer to the next time you write a marketing piece.  With this in mind, please study the seven goals below.

7 Goals For A Great Website or Ad

  1. Make yourself understood precisely – I obviously place this as number one.
  2. Write like your readers talk – Drop the pretention and listen to your audience.
  3. Use short sentences and simple words – Sure you’re smart, but this is no place to show off that “A” you got in English 101.
  4. Use the present tense, second person – Try reading this sentence, “People have felt as if they were a pampered celebrity on a Sun World Cruise”. It’s much more effective to say, “You feel like a pampered celebrity on a Sun World Cruise”.
  5. Tell your whole story – but in as few words as possible. Remember “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”  Thomas Jefferson
  6. Zero in on your readers’ hot buttons – If you’ve done your research, you know what they are.
  7. Focus on benefits, not features – It’s all about your customers, not you!

Now you have no excuse for not increasing the response rate of your marketing.  Good luck!

A Great Head Start For You

Get a jump on your Copywriting Competence with my FREE Check List, 20 Commandments For Copywriters.  Wannbes, Rookies, and Masters alike love this simple reminder of 10 Shalt's and 10 Shalt Not's.


[Note: “Never trust anyone you don’t understand.”  Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin, The Power Of Simplicity]

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