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Thursday, July 26, 2012

5 Tips to Help Your Marketing Messages Sing | Andrea K. Hammer, Entrepreneur.com

If you feel using plain language (aka plain English) in your writing would be boring, uninteresting or ineffective, you are mistaken.

In fact, using plain language is likely to increase the number of people who read your documents, get your message(s), and respond to them in the way you're hoping.

The reason: Materials that follow plain-language writing principles are aimed at meeting the needs of your readers (as well as your needs):
  • They make clear right from the start the purpose of the document -- so you readers will know upfront what they'll get out of reading it.
  • Plain-language documents are written (and designed) to make reading them easier and faster to do -- always important these days when people are so busy. 
  • And they're written to make sure your messages and information are provided in clear, concise language that your readers will understand. 
Certainly, following those principles won't lead to boring, uninteresting and ineffective communications!

Andrea Hammer, author of the article at this link, gets it. She even writes that following these principles "will help your marketing messages sing." That's right, marketing -- when you're trying to sell stuff!

Hammer writes:
Drawing on my business-writing experience, here are some guidelines for effective marketing descriptions to build your reputation and business.
Here's a summary of her five tips:
1. Clarify thoughts. ... Can you describe your product or service clearly and succinctly? ...
2. Energize descriptions. ... [T]try to avoid overused descriptions like "hot" and "best," which have lost their meaning. Instead, rely on verbs full of energy, such as "sparkle," "zip" and "zoom." ...
3. Create snapshots. Clear words and messages have the ability to paint word pictures. Vivid images leave impressions in customers' minds, giving them a sense of your business and the people behind your operation. ...
4. Simplify sentences. ... Complexity and clutter make processing information difficult, so don't pack multiple ideas into sentences. Make your thoughts easy to digest by using words that readers recognize ....
5. Refine drafts. ... Slash every word that is confusing or unnecessary. Simplify and polish every word to help the essence of your company, identity and message rise to the top.
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For more advice on this topic, check out Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It can help you improve your writing skills by using plain-English techniques:

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