Tag Archives | copywriting

The end of the word is nigh!

As a copywriter, I’m often asked what I think about txt spk. I’ve always said it’s OK as another language, but not a replacement language. It’s not (yet) appropriate in academic writing or business writing. But, language is continually evolving, the word ‘innit’ is in the OED, and – just as we don’t write now how we wrote 100 years ago – we won’t write in 100 years the way we write now.

Ladies and gentlemen, as the logo above shows, the shift has already begun.

I saw it in an ad on the back of a bus, to advise 16- to 24-year-olds about chlamydia. As soon as the 16 to 24s are old enough to influence mainstream media, I suspect we’ll all be writing ‘ur’ for ‘your’ and no-one will have time any more for us old fogeys who know about ‘proper’ spelling and grammar.

#TimeToGoOutToGrass?

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Notes on copywriting

You’ve heard that you have to turn features into benefits. That you should write from your customer’s point of view. That you ought to use the word ‘you’ more than you use the word ‘we’. So here’s an example of how it’s done:

Before

Each apartment features a unique layout, designed with ease of living in mind. These luxury apartments offer ample space for everyday living.

After

If you are looking for great accommodation with a light and contemporary layout, designed with ease of living in mind, you’ll find we have an apartment to suit you.

If you want to check your own website, you can use the We We Test.

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Talking of signs

I saw one at a hotel entrance the other day that reads: ‘Smoking is not allowed in this building. If you observe someone smoking, complaints may be made to the management.’

So what’s wrong with that?

Well, what it actually says, is that if someone sees you watching someone smoking, they can make a complaint about you.

Warning. I’m going to talk about grammar now.

The problem is that it mixes passive and active tenses which changes the meaning.

It’s better to use the active tense throughout (and be more specific and simplify the language at the same time) i.e. ‘If you see someone smoking, please tell our staff at Reception.’

It doesn’t tell me where to complain about dodgy sign-writing.

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