O is for Obvious Opportunity

work-at-homeOne of the side effects of being a copywriter is you see bad copy everywhere you look. Everywhere. It’s darn near epidemic.

A copywriter zeroing in on bad copy  must be a little like a dermatologist spotting moles on random strangers, or an auto body repair specialist eyeing other peoples’ dents. But I digress.

As a service to the reading public, I thought I’d offer a few, brief copy suggestions. I’m sorry to tell you that they’re all drawn from real-life examples:

  • Don’t make up words. Like stratecution which, if you haven’t already figured it out is the combination of strategy and execution. Yuck. Who could possibly think that’s a good idea? Another beauty, courtesy of Diane at Thinkspring Marketing: updation. Because update is so passé. These sound like words my kids say when they get confused. And they make me a little nauseated.
  • Don’t use acronyms! Please, I beg you! No one outside your company knows what they mean! Really!
  • Don’t overuse exclamation points. Sorry, couldn’t resist throwing that one in.
  • Watch your headlines. My favorite examples are both from schools. The first, from a school called Crucifixion, advertised that great event, the Crucifixion Summer Fun Fest. Sign me up! Another, from a school whose mascot is a wolverine, showcased their annual fundraiser, the Wolverine Lasagna Dinner. Yum.
  • Don’t beg the question. For example, don’t start a sales letter for life insurance with the sentence “This isn’t just another life insurance solicitation.” Because of course it is. And don’t start an email communication with “Exciting account changes are coming soon,” because they aren’t exciting. As much as you might hope they are.
  • Proofread. More about that one tomorrow.

Although, as copywriters, we may find it painful to read these examples it does have one upside – we don’t feel obsolete. Which is a good thing, because at this stage of my career,  I really don’t want to have to take my skills through an updation process.

This post is part of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. See who else is Blogging from A to Z

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17 thoughts on “O is for Obvious Opportunity

    1. Yes, that is not only allowed, I love it. It’s when people make up words because they’re sure that regular, normal old words aren’t sufficient that it drives me crazy.


  1. I once edited the newsletter of my garbage hauler, a young business trying to gain a foothold against some mega-haulers in our area. I enjoyed the process, and I was serious about helping them, for free. I did not hear back from them. 🙂 You can’t blame a copywriter for trying…


  2. So maybe my favorite word scrumtrulescent is out? What about wordbrids (mash-ups, like I did there “word” and “hybrids”? You’d have a blast at my house. That’s all we do! I know, you meant copywriting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Had to.


      1. Scrumtrulescent:

        adj: so great that any other word employed would be woefully insufficient, and would serve only to limit the sheer magnitude of the greatness intended as a descriptor.

        -made famous by Will Ferrell impersonating James Lipton on SNL’s skit “Inside the Actor’s Studio.”

        -don’t be fooled by other misspellings.
        Your performance was simply scrumtrulescent.


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