Your Word Choice Will Make or Break Your Copy
Here are four principles to help you choose the right one again and again
“Words were another sword for the man who wielded them well” — Brent Weeks
Words have this special power to cut through any mind, heart — and any wallet.
If you’ve ever confronted a teacher — and planned on not getting expelled afterward — you know how important your word choice is and how carefully you must plan each word.
You think long about your words in those situations. When pitching an idea, in a sales conversation, or when you finally build up the courage to ask out your crush (even though you end up babbling complete nonsense).
And for good reasons. Your word choice determines whether your prospect takes the action desired.
But, for that to happen, you need to use the right words in the right ways on the right people.
You know how important your copy is for your business. How can you use the right words to see better results?
Strategic Word Choice
When crafting your demand for a product, you should use a specific language to set yourself apart.
Take Ford’s example. Henry Ford knew that marketing his product as cars wouldn’t be efficient. Everybody rode in carriages, and there was one major problem with carriages: They were led by horses. Horses get tired on the road. You must tend and feed them.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, he used the right words to market the problem: “horseless carriage.”
Cards Against Humanity hit the bull’s eye with their word choice: “Party game for horrible people”. Would you still want to play if the tagline was instead “Edgy game to play with your friends”? I wouldn’t.
Now, take a look at most websites or newsletters out there. Close to no thought happened prior to their choice of words and their copywriting.
If you’re a plumber, don’t say, “We fix your copper piping.” Not only does nobody know what you’re talking about, nobody cares. Instead, try “Tell your leaks it’s time to go.”
Whether it’s the microcopy on your website, the articles on your blog, your social media posts, your e-mail newsletter, or the name of your product, use your words strategically.
Your word choice matters.
Make People Go “I Need This”
I suspect horseless carriages to be the 1910 version of wireless chargers or AirPods: a new product that made people go crazy for it.
You can’t tell the client to go crazy about your product. Everyone else is doing that. Why would she choose you? She needs to get to the conclusion that she needs you. No, wait… You need to get her to this conclusion — with the right word choice. Copywriting is all about subtle persuasion, after all.
That’s what I do. I give out everything I know about marketing and copywriting. My goal is for people to look at my stuff and want the same for their brand.
When Steve Jobs did his legendary presentation, the world lost its mind. The way he advertised three different products in one made everybody want this life-changing device.
He didn’t tell the world they needed an iPhone. He told them everything they were already using could be found in one small device. The convenience and genius of it are what made people go crazy about it.
How To Develop the Right Word Choice
You can’t vomit a 2,000-word article about how great your product or your service is and wait for the leads to pour in. Not to break your little heart, but nobody cares.
Keep these four ideas in your mind when writing:
1. Always have your clients in mind
Do not write what you want to tell your prospect. Write what your prospect wants to read.
Who’s your client? Would they read this? Would they enjoy it? If the answer is no, keep searching.
My target audience is made up of marketers and more specifically copywriters. People who are interested in a strategic word choice.
2. People yearn for human connection
Use words that both fit your brand’s identity and have an emotional strength behind them. Words that trigger nostalgia, motivation, dreams, pain. You want your customers to feel something through your words.
Dollar Shave Club’s “Tested on interns, not animals” makes you both laugh and appreciate the brand at the same time.
Cards Against Humanity’s FAQ feels like a close friend making fun of you for saying something dumb in class.
3. Use strong words
What are strong words?
Strong words both evoke emotions in the reader’s mind and forces them to visualize an outcome.
Whereas weak words just exist. They don’t grab your reader by the shirt. Which makes them less compelling and ultimately less persuasive.
For example, saying your shoes are waterproof doesn’t make you visualize anything. It gives you basic information. Great, I can wear them during the winter.
Whereas if you read “Let it rain,” you’re imagining yourself walking and crushing your goals in the rain — or, you’re singing “Let It Go” from Frozen to yourself, which makes the tagline memorable.
Likewise, reading “Resistant” doesn’t make you feel anything, but reading “Wear it in the wild” makes you want to go on a hike.
For more, you should check out this article on word choice from Eddie Schleyner.
4. Keep it simple and short
Simpler words are often more punchy and appeal more to the client.
“Horseless carriage” clearly states that you don’t have to deal with the hassle of horses anymore. It makes people wonder how much easier it would be.
Take the time to think about your word choice. You wouldn’t rush your product’s creation. Why are you rushing its marketing?