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Be a T-Rex not a Thesaurus
Back in my school days I remember creating content. But I didn’t enjoy it like I enjoy writing content now. It was forced content – essays and homework – and I detested doing it, and forgot a lot of it.
I remember researching topics and writing about them, and then I remember working on ways to make it sound like I’d not just stolen the words and ideas from books and other papers. (Yes, I’m of the pre-Google age.)
One of the ways I thought I’d conned my teachers when I was 14 was to write an essay and then go through and replace a lot of the words with over-complicated ones to make me sound like I was clever.
How did I find these more complex words? Well, I used a thesaurus.
‘Ask’ became ‘enquire’ and ‘happy’ became ‘enthused’ and my work all of a sudden looked more ‘cleverer’.
It fooled no one, but I felt educated and shit. So there.
But here’s the thing. Fast forward a certain unmentionable number of years and people are still doing it.
Business owners and web developers have been at it for years, and the Thesaurus is well and truly out in force. Although it’s probably an online version rather than the dusty paper version from yesteryear.
What do I mean?
Your website, your blogs, your LinkedIn profile, your copy – it’s a The-saurus instead of a T-Rex.
More often than not we read content online that’s just so overcomplicated it serves no purpose than to confuse.
Using big words doesn’t make you clever – it’s making people turn off – It’s sending them away.
- The average reading age in the UK is 12.
- One of the most popular pieces of online content is the Daily Fail.
- The most watched content on YouTube is daft and childish.
But it’s simple. Simple to understand, and simple to engage with.
Content for the online world needs to drop the Thesaurus and become more like a T-Rex.
The T-Rex was a grand and powerful animal, and it wasn’t very clever
It was powerful, got its message well and truly heard, but it was somewhat lacking words. It roared loudly and everyone knew where it was.
The T-Rex is one of the most popular dinosaurs and also very simple to spell.
Short, considered, concise, powerful, punchy, and heard over the rest.
Your writing needs to be like a T-Rex.
If you’re a ‘dynamic customer-centred dual purpose Agency’ instead of an agency that has two great services that help your customers do something, then I’m talking to you.
If you’re ‘passionate about the progression of change in an ever-changing… blah blah, snore…’ rather than someone who’s good at making shit happen – I’m looking at you, partner.
T-Rex: powerful, simple, and rather persuasive
Thesaurus: Overcomplicated and scaring web visitors away with just a few sentences.
Speak normally. Use contractions. Drop the acronyms and abbreviations. Stop trying to impress people. Yes, even on LinkedIn. You’re still talking to real people.
Write like you talk.
Would you order a glass of wine by saying, “I’d like 250ml of the 2007 12.5% abv double barrelled Tempranillo grape, please”?
No, you’d ask for a glass of Rioja!
Stop adding in lots of long words when a few short ones will do.
Think big, think stupid, think T-Rex.
Drop the Thesaurus – it’s well and truly extinct.
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