I’ve been meaning to post about Wadds’ Tech PR Blog for the past two days but haven’t been able to.
I think it’s a great idea for an intern to go through press releases and figure out what’s going on with them. The findings confirm what I think I already know: there are certain words – concepts even – that good copywriters avoid like the plague no matter what clients tell them.
Most of them are absolute superlatives, and Stephen Waddington lists some of them: latest, largest, biggest, fastest, hottest. If you use these words, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Sooner or later – actually, sooner in tech – something will be larger or bigger, faster or ‘hotter’ (although tech PR is tending towards ‘cooler’ in terms of economy vs ecology.)
Likewise, superlatives such as ‘revolutionary’ and ‘cutting edge’ just don’t work. We used to have ‘leading edge’. Then someone thought up ‘bleeding edge’. These claims carry little influence now.
So what are copywriters to do? Adopt industry jargon or try something daringly new?
We think about what the product/service offers that will improve the lives of the people using it. We write about this in a way that people can relate to, which inspires or interests them, and which points the way towards what the client wants to achieve. It’s not simple. But there’s a simple way to think about it.
Imagine you’re telling someone about it in a bar: you wouldn’t just launch into it and use corporate bollock-speak. You’d built it up, give a preamble, introduce it, and tell your audience – or your friend next to you – why you think this thing is so great. If you really like it you’ll tell them what to look out for in the future.
This is how conversations work. This is how communication works.
So next time you write something, put yourself in the place of a friend listening to you in the bar, or yourself telling a friend about it. Really, go through it in your head. Listen to what you’re saying. Listen to your internal dialogue and the words you use. I’ll bet my bottom Euro it’s not corporate bollock-speak – because that just doesn’t work. People respond to people, and that’s what you need to get across in a press release.
Just tell it like it is.
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