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Friday Digital Roundup

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We do love writing it, but clearly not as much as people like receiving it - just look at the response we got when a technical hitch meant it wasn’t sent out on time!

David Morphew @DavidMorphew

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Spaghetti Blog

Saturday 21st April 2018

Are you a provider of ‘a wide range of solutions for all your industry needs’? Stop it immediately

Tue 10th Feb 2015
By Jo

The past week has been networking-tastic. I went to two events, @SocialMediaTodd went to one, and we’ve got three events this week too. Yes, we’re fulfilling our New Year’s resolution (a month late in February) and getting out and about to meet and chat to people in actual real life.

When I get home from events I like to stalk the people I’ve just met on their social media channels, and I sometimes pop onto their website to have a mooch about.

 

So what do nearly all of them have in common? 

 

 

Copywriting and branding advice
Copywriting and branding advice

 

 

Their penchant for solutions. There’s a solutions epidemic.

 

  • I found a lady who sells blinds for people’s houses. Does she say this in her advertising? Nope, she calls them window solutions. In fact, she calls them contemporary quality solutions to light control. Catchy.
  • There’s a bloke who’ll come and cut your grass. That’s lovely, but he offers gardening solutions.
  • There’s even a business I came across recently who sell business solutions. Don’t ask me what they do because I don’t know.

 

Next time you’re bored driving on the motorway, look around at the lorries and their livery. Check out how many company’s taglines include the word solutions.

Everyone does it!

I hate it because it’s so vague and non-specific – as well as being horribly overused. I know it’s only 8 letters but it really grinds my gears.

Plus…

 

… your customers aren’t googling window solutions or gardening solutions!

 

 

I’m sorry, but it’s not happening. So you’re not going to be found if that’s what you say.

People care about themselves.

Your customers want you to solve their problem. Maybe the light’s coming in through their windows too brightly in the morning. Maybe their lawn’s too long and they don’t have time to cut it. Maybe they have a business that needs, well, something or other.

But they definitely don’t want solutions.

Your website readers don’t have the time or energy to decode a complicated explanation of what you do. You have their attention for a ridiculously short amount of time, so you need to (metaphorically) grab them and make them keep reading.

Look at what your product does and how it solves your buyer’s problem.

Tell them how you can improve their life and they’ll be interested.

And please, keep it simple.

 

There are a heap of other words that also set my teeth on edge when I hear them. They’re just pointless and make you seem like you’re trying to be clever and business-like. Just be yourself instead.

 

What words do I mean?

 

Here are eight of the most annoying offenders:

 

Utilise. There is never a time when you need this. Just say ‘use’.

 

Innovative. If you’re genuinely innovating and making cool shit, keep going and good luck with it. If you’re not, stop lying about it.

 

Yourself and myself. STOP SAYING THIS when you can just use ‘me and you’. Things like ‘do not hesitate to contact ourselves should you have any further requirements’ just sounds unfriendly. How about: ‘let me know if I can help with anything else.’? This explanation can help if you’re unsure.

 

Passionate. Oh dear god. Please don’t tell me that your company is ‘passionate’ about metal hinges for toilet seats or whatever it is you’re flogging. I don’t believe you.

 

Unique. Unique means ‘not like anything else’ so try describing exactly what makes your product or business one of a kind. What is it about you that stands out? Tell your readers/listeners and you stand a fighting chance of being remembered.

 

Adjacent. Don’t say that your building is ‘situated adjacent to the traffic lights. It’s next to the traffic lights. Explain it so that an intelligent child could understand. It’s just about being clear.

 

Inform. You’re not ‘writing to inform’ someone. Just tell them what you need to tell them. It’s simpler.

 

Pre-book. Just book. Pre-booking IS booking.

 

My advice is to use normal, everyday human language to connect with people

Don’t put on a business persona as it comes across as a bit fake and people would rather speak to the real you. And if they don’t, they’re not the right people to be speaking to.

 

Do you agree with any of my irritating words, or do you think long words make you look more intelligent? I’d love to know your opinions in the comments below or on social media.

 

Right, I’m off to get my evening meal solution. Sorry, dinner.

 

Lanzarote dinner


Tags associated with this article

Jo

Copywriter at Spaghetti Agency, helping small businesses get found online. Furmummy to a Beagle and a Chihuahua.

8 comments on this article

  • Geraldine at 8:03am on February 13th 2015

    Didn’t receive this one by email, so have only just seen it!

    Guessing we won’t be seeing “innovative social media solutions” as part of your new branding then?!

    One to add to your list: “reach out”. Just say “contact”. Please…

    1. Geraldine at 10:49am on February 13th 2015

      Oops, have received it now – just assumed it was mailed out on the day of publication!

      1. Jo Ciriani at 11:36am on February 13th 2015

        Todd forgets when it’s one of mine! Tut tut.

        I’m totally with you on ‘reach out’. It’s SOOO American cheese.

  • Jo Hanson at 6:47am on February 17th 2015

    Hey Jo,

    I’ve seen so much of this type of phrasing used in Ads, and yes it is cringing when the copywriter tries to over egg the situation.

    It is just so simple! Perhaps marketeers should speak at the same time as writing, so that they can hear themselves 🙂

    Cheers!

    Jo

    1. Jo Ciriani at 11:00am on February 17th 2015

      That’s a good idea Jo. And it goes for anyone doing the writing, not just marketing peeps. 🙂 Jo.

  • Stephen Ash at 23:51pm on March 30th 2015

    The over use of two words in particular annoy me: “incredibly” used as if it meant very and “painstakingly” meaning carefully. I’ve seen TV programmes (often science or documentary) where the host uses one word or the other almost every other sentence. They seem to think it makes what they say exciting; it doesn’t.

    1. Todd at 12:46pm on March 31st 2015

      Haha..

      Stephen I think you’ve stumbled on a whole new blog post right there! 🙂

  • Cara Tipping Smith at 5:26am on May 14th 2015

    Spot on! Thank you.

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