Why big words don't add up to better copywriting 30 September 2013

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The wording shown above is bold, confident, a little on the brash side, but I like it. I think it fits well with what it’s describing. But there are times in a copywriting context when bold words end up drowning out their own message. It’s a classic marketing mistake. Companies want to sell themselves. They know that attention spans are short and getting shorter. So they resort to the big sell – in the form of the big words that promise great things. But this approach comes with several hazards for your copywriting strategy:

Credibility breakdown

As human beings, we’re programmed to seek out consistency. So when we sense that there’s a mismatch between the wording we see and the company it’s setting out to sell, we’re less likely to connect. This is even more likely to happen if those bold words are a sudden break from your usual tone of voice. Before you rush to throw around big adjectives about your business, be sure that your content matches with your overall copywriting strategy.

Bye-bye, business benefits

The next hazard is that you hide the real benefits of what you do behind those large sweeping phrases. There’s a difference between an eye grabbing line and overwhelming exaggeration. If you can stay in the right place in your copywriting approach, you’ll reduce the risk of losing your marketing message behind grand statements. You will also stay focused on sharing how you help people and what you do that’s different to your competitors. This is much likely to make an impact than just throwing words at the subject.

Going generic

Another risk to overloading your copywriting with lots of big brash words is that you end up sounding like everybody else. Going for the big statement can leave you with a tone of voice that is generic rather than genuinely different.

Failure to tell a story

Once upon a time? There’s never really been a time when a great story hasn’t been a powerful approach in business copywriting. We’re programmed to respond to a good narrative. If you’re looking to use bold statements in your copywriting, be sure that it fits with your business story – the tale that tells what is different about you.

Make a mismatch

When you look at your website or your business brochure, what do you see? Wording which fits with your marketing message and your business – or a mismatch? Do you see content which overstates and oversells instead of making a clear connection between you and your audience? This is the risk of over-using big statements and words. Get back to the core of your copywriting approach and you’ll be more likely to use words which fit not only with your business goals, but with your overall marketing message.

Is your business message hidden by the words you use?

What does your choice of words do for your business? How well does your content fit with your wider copywriting approach? Ask yourself what’s special about your business. Question what it is you do differently to help people. Finding and communicating the answers to these questions will help take your copywriting approach further. Because creating a response isn’t about talking big. It’s about thinking big.

Like a little word?

Like to chat more about finding the words to talk about your business? Let me know!

By Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, Nottingham, September 2013

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