June 5, 2020  
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Articles for Entrepreneurs


Effective Ad Copy


Word Economy

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

Have you ever met someone who goes all around the houses to tell you a tale? Unless they are a professional raconteur who uses the technique as a device you probably found yourself getting bored. Why can't they just get to the point? If you 'ramble' in your promotional material you'll have prospective customers running to the hills.

The express purpose of this article or written piece, which contains approximately 500 words, is to illustrate to you and many other people who may be reading it how very long-winded or convoluted written passages can, instead of conveying the message of your choice actually result in driving away the customers you had hoped to attract in the first place by writing the message.

Apologies. That was probably painful to read. But it was done on purpose. To bore you. But there's a reason for that. It was to prove the following point:

That rambling text is boring.

Why the rambling in the opening paragraph?

Because it's easier to 'show' than to 'tell'. The idea was to use rambling text to prove that rambling text is boring. You see the trick there?

What is rambling text?

Rambling text doesn't have to refer to long text, although it usually does. What happens in rambled text is that unnecessary information is included. That's what makes it sprawl so.

Why do people write in a rambling way?

People write in a rambling way for a number of reasons:

  • They feel compelled to include as much information as they can, but fail to do so in a concise way. What they should do is deliver the info in easy to digest bullet points. What they actually do is serve all the information at once. It's like have to eat all four courses of a meal in one go. There's also the tendency to include irrelevant facts. And that's a big mistake. Just because something is a fact doesn't mean it needs to be shared. For example, there was no need to mention that this article is approximately 500 words long.
  • People often ramble when they are trying to write to a specific word count. Let's say they want an article of 500 words but have said all they needed to by the time they hit the 269 mark. While the 269 words may be well-chosen and applicable, add in an extraneous 231 and the text becomes instantly rambled. Also the quality of the overall piece is damaged, therefore it becomes worthless.
  • They feel it's somehow clever to embellish. But it's not. Say what needs to be said. Think about what's relevant and what's not. If your product is non allergenic and made from a rare form of sap, say so. That's relevant. That's what people need to know. They don't need to know that the box that it comes in is a shade of turquoise that matches your HIS and HERS towel set. Unless you had inside knowledge about high numbers of people having similar bathroom tastes there's absolutely no reason to mention this.

Sales copy needs to stick to the point and be punchy. When people are bored they don't feel like spending money. So don't bore them. Be economical with words. They're powerful things, too many of them can make for an overly rich dish, or perhaps worse, a confusing concoction that's tasteless.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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