The Power of Your Words
I'm a word nerd. And even though you may not be, please keep reading. It could make your mission as an entrepreneur, approving manager, creative director or designer (who works with writers) so much easier when you work with us. Rewarding, too.
Here's the thing: for direct response writers, every word counts. That's because we know our word choices can make or break the response by which we're measured. For example, we've long understood the power of the word free versus using no charge or complimentary for generating traffic, leads and sales. Direct mail expert Dick Benson once proclaimed the word free as magical.
I was reminded of the power of a single word during a recent discussion with a new client and the company's legal department. The discussion focused on using get vs. win. In the context of my copy, get delivered a reward... while win implied a prize. I wanted my reader to feel like she was earning a reward, not playing the lottery. We compromised and used both, depending on context.
Examples of word power permeate our everyday lives. Case in point, I recently drove by a house with a real estate sign in the front yard. I assumed the sign was going to read, "House for Sale." Wrong. Instead it said, "Site for Sale." House versus Site. One word had me looking at the property completely differently. After reading the sign, I figured the house must have major problems and the owner had decided the only reason someone would buy the property was for the lot, not the current house. Which led me to assume the price would reflect this. However, I'll never know if I was correct about the price, since I'm not in the market for a house or lot.
But you get the idea. I remembered the sign because of one word. Every word you choose — no matter what you're writing — impacts your readers' perceptions and, ultimately, their actions. Everyone who writes subject lines, Twitter posts, catalog copy and call-to-action buttons with space limitations understands this.
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