I don’t normally write posts like this.
In all honesty, I really don’t like to tell people what to do or not do. I’m a rock-solid advocate for trusting your intuition and doing what feels right in your own heart when it comes to your business. I think at the end of the day, you know your ideal clients better than anyone else (you’re usually only a few steps ahead of them in the game, anyway) and I don’t think someone on “the outside” can truly know what will resonate with them better than you.
Plus, I am a totally off-the-beaten-path kinda girl myself, and I like to push the envelope (however slowly).
So don’t get it twisted. I love when I see people doing business differently – and I especially love when I see those crazy antics paying off.
What I don’t love is when I see brands trying too hard to be different…and totally missing the mark.
In online biz, your success really depends on how easily you are able to build trust with your brand. And when your brand is the wild child of your niche – and if that doesn’t exactly vibe with either your own personality, or other’s perceptions of you – it can totally kill your brand, point blank.
But as always, this is totally avoidable.
Here are 5 copy no-no’s that almost always crush your credibility:
1. Dropping f-bombs for no reason.
Girls, don’t get me wrong. I love a well-placed “fuck” or “shit” or other profanity. It’s proven that surprises like this jolt people back into the moment – which is fabulous when you’re trying to hold someone’s attention for long periods of time.
But when overused? All the obscenities can become trite, not to mention they really can damage your credibility IF people don’t think they’re authentic.
If you’re a brand that prides itself on it’s large corporate sponsorships, throwing out a buncha expletives doesn’t exactly make sense from a branding point of view.
For a brand like mine, however? I don’t go no fucks and I do what I want. (See what I did there?)
2. Getting TOO sexy.
Obviously, I love sexy. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sex or intrigue or mystique (in fact, it’s my Fascination Factor).
What I don’t love is when people go overboard. There’s a very fine line being sexy-classy and being sexy-trashy.
Of course, it works for some brands. But I’m going to bet unless sex is an integral slice of your brand identity, it’s probably throwing people off more than anything.
Is there a better way to create a sense of “gotta-have-this-ness”? In most cases, yes. I like to keep the sexiness more subtle than overt, and I think it works.
3. Giving yourself a totally unrecognizable title.
It’s all the rage these days to NOT want to call yourself what you actually are. If you’re a health coach, you want to be a “smoothie-wielding warrior”…and never mention your coaching credential at all.
I think all that is fine + dandy..until you create a title for yourself that NOBODY understands. Again, creativity is one thing. But as always, clear trumps clever and at the end of the day, what people really want to know is what the heck you are and what you can do for them.
Still tempted to use a fancy-schmancy title? Think of it this way: Your TITLE does not have to include YOUR MESSAGE. Your overall message is better off making an appearance in your tagline. Keep your title simple, if only for SEO purposes (because no search engine knows what a “dream activator” is, promise).
4. Choosing “fun” words over “power” words.
There are certain words guaranteed to inspire action on your clients. (Seriously – just Google “power words” and you’ll get thousands of results.)
Sometimes, unfortunately, these words aren’t super fun. Or hip. Or even that creative. (Case in point: “Imagine” and “you” are among the top most powerful words you can use in your copy. Not exactly Pulitzer Prize material, non?)
I want you to know that it’s okay NOT to sound hip in every sentence of your copy. In fact, most of the time you probably shouldn’t – you should just sound straightforward, clear and like you know what the heck you’re talking about.
5. Not being your damn self.
I know how really freaking hard it can be to drown out the incessant noise from other people in your industry, or even other entrepreneurs in general. Seriously though – if you ever want your true voice to emerge, you gotta stop letting others voices seep into your own.
How can you do this? Pare down your email subscriptions, stop obsessively stalking your mentors and just do your own damn thing for at least 30 days. I love to use 750Words.com every morning just to whip up some writing of my own, before I’ve let any noise from the day enter my brain.
The less chatter you take in, the more your real voice will radiate out. But you have to give it space to take shape.
When you start using your real voice, that’s when the magic happens.
Dig this post?
Are you guilty of a copy faux pas? Tell me all about it in the comments. And if you want more tips like these, be sure to head on over and check out my e-book Crushworthy Sales Copy 101 that’s chock full of good advice on how to write in a way that sounds like you and makes cash, too.