You can medicate the fleas off the dog, but what about the mistakes in the ad copy?

Do you have a dog? If you live in the South, you may have despaired of ever getting 100% rid of fleas. Here in Florida, fleas are the size of birds and nearly impossible to eradicate. Man, I’ve tried everything.

And then I tried NexGard. Ten years’ worth of fleas…gone in 24 hours. We went to bed with fleas and woke up flea free! My dog’s coat looks better than it has in years. She looks 1000% more comfortable. It’s a miracle!

I liked NexGard so much that I am now a shareholder! I mean, I rushed to the phone and called “my guy,” and, voila! I have a stake in the company.

So when I saw that the parent company of NexGard, Merial, had placed an ad in the May issue of Southern Living magazine, I was thrilled! What a perfect place to advertise! But then…then I read this stinky sentence, right smack dab in the middle of the text:

After all, it’s the vet’s #1 choice for their dogs and yours.

Ouch! Let’s see, we’ve got a singular possessive plus a plural pronoun, when—plainly—we need a plural possessive: the vets’. But then there’s the wimpy and indefinite pronoun “it.” Why, pray, would you use “it” in this sentence? Let’s simplify and correct.

Rewrite: After all, NexGard is the #1 choice of vets, for their dogs and yours.

For a company with such a fine, fine, product, this kind of writing is unacceptable. Absolutely and totally unacceptable.

 

Advanced editing. Side-by-side comparison.

Rewritten text is in bold.

Original:

Our professional copywriters write for a wide variety of industries and can assist you with your content creation needs. For many business owners, hiring a copywriter has proven to be the ideal solution. They can focus primarily on their business and feel confident knowing that their website is written just the way they want.

You can see that I don’t view my role as a copy-generator, and, for the most part, strive to use the original words and phrases.

Rewrite:

Most business people want to focus primarily on doing business, and need to feel confident knowing that their website is written just the way they want. For many business owners, hiring a professional copywriter has proven to be the ideal solution. Our copywriters write for a wide variety of industries and can assist you with your content creation needs.

Original:

What does hiring a copywriter do for your business?

  • Improve website performance by adding optimized and well-researched content
  • Increase relevance to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines
  • Inform your clients of new products, services
  • Blog writing and new posts help position you as the expert in your field
  • Stay ahead of your competition

Rewrite:

What does hiring a copywriter do for your business?

  • Improves website performance by adding optimized and well-researched content
  • Increases relevance to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines
  • Informs your clients of new products and services
  • Blog writing and new posts help position you as the expert in your field
  • Helps you stay ahead of your competition

Original:

Why is adding content to your website such a big deal?

Websites that add relevant content to their website have a higher chance of staying ahead of competing sites that choose to remain stagnant. If you’re adding new products, services, or just have something to say about your industry, getting it out online is also a great way to stay maintain and build on your customer base.

Rewrite:

Why is adding content to your website so important?

A business that adds relevant content to its website has a higher chance of staying ahead of competing sites that choose to remain stagnant. If you’re adding new products, services, or just have something to say about your industry, getting your message out online is also a great way to build your customer base.

Original:

Put yourself in the shoes of your target consumer. Let’s say they see your site and the site of your competitor. Imagine if your competitor was actively adding helpful content their blog, or had a “New Products” that listed recent inventory specials. Now, imagine if your site was last updated sometime last year, didn’t have a blog, or at the very least, your new product listings. Which company would you shop with?

Rewrite:

Put yourself in the shoes of your target consumers. Let’s say they see your site and the site of your competitor. Imagine if your competitor was actively adding helpful content its blog, or had a “New Products” page that listed inventory specials. Now, imagine if your site was updated sometime last year, didn’t have a blog, or,  at the very least, your new product listings. Which company would you shop with?

Original:

What to expect from your copywriter:

The process is simple and straightforward, we connect you to a professional writer who knows how to write for your target audience and the search engines. They will ask you questions related to your customer base as well as the benefits of your products and services. Once a firm understanding is reached and the writer understands what motivates your customer, they will create some draft content and send it to you prior to publication. You will maintain choice and control at all times.

Rewrite:

What to expect from your copywriter:

The process is simple and straightforward: we connect you to a professional writer who knows how to write for both your target audience and the search engines. This writer will ask you questions related to your customer base and will want to know about the benefits of your products and services. On-point, carefully crafted content will emerge from your discussions.

Original:

From creating custom e-commerce pages to direct B2B marketing, you can rest easy knowing that GFIT has copywriters on hand who want to bring your site’s performance to the next level.

Rewrite:

From creating custom e-commerce pages to direct B2B marketing, GFIT has copywriters on hand who will make your site’s performance sparkle.

Contact GFIT today to inquire about our local copy writing service.

 

Advanced editing. Step two.

Now we’ll make the corrections and do a little rewriting. I wasn’t 100% thrilled with a couple of places that needed the most rewriting, but I would plan to tweak this several more times before handing it in to this “client.”

GTIF provides professional copy writing and content creation services.

Most business people want to focus primarily on doing business, and need to feel confident knowing that their website is written just the way they want. For many business owners, hiring a professional copywriter has proven to be the ideal solution. Our copywriters write for a wide variety of industries and can assist you with your content creation needs.

What does hiring a copywriter do for your business?

  • Improves website performance by adding optimized and well-researched content
  • Increases relevance to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines
  • Informs your clients of new products and services
  • Blog writing and new posts help position you as the expert in your field
  • Helps you stay ahead of your competition

Why is adding content to your website such a big deal?

Businesses that add relevant content to their website have a higher chance of staying ahead of competing sites that choose to remain stagnant. If you’re adding new products, services, or just have something to say about your industry, getting your message  out online is also a great way to build your customer base.

Put yourself in the shoes of your target consumers. Let’s say they see your site and the site of your competitor. Imagine if your competitor was actively adding helpful content its blog, or had a “New Products” page that listed inventory specials. Now, imagine if your site was updated sometime last year, didn’t have a blog, or,  at the very least, your new product listings. Which company would you shop with?

What to expect from your copywriter:

The process is simple and straightforward: we connect you to a professional writer who knows how to write for both your target audience and the search engines. This writer will ask you questions related to your customer base, as well as the benefits of your products and services. Content will emerge from your discussions.

From creating custom e-commerce pages to direct B2B marketing, GFIT has copywriters on hand who want to make your site’s performance sparkle.

Contact GFIT today to inquire about our local copy writing service.

 

Advanced editing, “marked up” copy. Step one of the process.

When I edit, most of the time I print a paper copy of my project. I find paper helps me to track repetitive words, phrases, and sentence structure. However, for short bursts of prose, which is typically what you find on websites, I do find that I can be paperless.

Here’s what I’d do to edit this copy:

GTIF provides professional copy writing and content creation services.

Our professional copywriters write for a wide variety of industries and can assist you with your content creation needs. For many business owners, hiring a copywriter has proven to be the ideal solution. [To what? Need more information or transition sentence.] They can focus primarily on their business and feel confident knowing that their website is written just the way they want. [Four pronouns in this sentence is two or three too many. Everyone needs to cut back on the use of vague pronouns.]

What does hiring a copywriter do for your business?

  • Improve [I’d go with “improves.”] website performance by adding optimized and well-researched content
  • Increase [Increases] relevance to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines
  • Inform [Informs] your clients of new products, services
  • Blog writing and new posts help position you as the expert in your field
  • [Helps you stay] Stay ahead of your competition

Why is adding content to your website such a big deal?

Websites that add relevant content to their website [What? “Websites” that add content to “their” website? Do you mean “businesses”?] have a higher chance of staying ahead of competing sites that choose to remain stagnant. If you’re adding new products, services, or just have something to say about your industry, getting it [Hate these imprecise pronouns. “It” what? “Your message”?] out online is also a great way to stay maintain [Who edited this? “Stay maintain”?] and build on [Just say “build.”] your customer base.

Put yourself in the shoes of your target consumer. Let’s say they [Oops. “Customer” is singular, but “they” is a plural pronoun. The pronoun must agree with the noun.] see your site and the site of your competitor. Imagine if your competitor was actively adding helpful content their [Again, noun-pronoun problem. “Your competitor” is singular, so you can’t say “their.”] blog, or had a “New Products” [A “New Products” what? “Section”? “Webpage”? You can’t say that without more information.] that listed recent inventory specials. Now, imagine if your site was last updated sometime last year, didn’t have a blog, or [Comma] at the very least, your new product listings. Which company would you [Italics would be nice here.] shop with?

What to expect from your copywriter:

The process is simple and straightforward, we connect you to a professional writer who knows how to write for your target audience and the search engines. [Wow, do you need a colon after “straightforward.” This is a classic “demand” for a colon: Use a colon when you could substitute “namely.” Go back up and say “namely” after “straightforward.” The comma here is incorrect.] They [Again! This writer plainly doesn’t know one of the most fundamental grammar rules in the English language: The noun drives the bus. In other words, your verb and your pronoun must agree with the noun.] will ask you questions related to your customer base [I’d like to try this with a comma.] as well as the benefits of your products and services. Once a firm understanding is reached [What?] and the writer understands [“Understand” twice in one sentence—very bad.] what motivates your customer, they [Again; “writer” is singular and “they” is a plural pronoun.] will create some [There are few times in life to use a flaccid word like “some”; this is not one of them.] draft content and send it to you prior to publication. You will maintain choice and control at all times.

From creating custom e-commerce pages to direct B2B marketing, you can rest easy knowing that GFIT has copywriters on hand who want to bring your site’s performance to the next level. [Yuck! “Rest easy” is trite, and please spare me any more “next level” phrasing. I’m so over that phrase! Like, totally.]

Contact GFIT today to inquire about our local copy writing service.

It’s a shame that business owners pay big bucks to  so-called website development professionals who have sent a very clear signal through their own website that they are not to be trusted with American English.

So, my friends, is it any wonder that this company misspelled the word “dessert” on one of its client’s website? Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

Advanced editing of a website development company’s horrible content.

I found a restaurant with content that included misspelling the word “dessert.” A restaurant. Naturally, I was curious about the people who were taking credit for this business’s website’s content, so I cruised over to the developer’s site, and found this great example of horrible writing. This is the part where the company is saying that it is offering copyediting services.

I am posting the original here, and then will subsequently post a “marked up” copy.

GFIT provides professional copy writing and content creation services.

Our professional copywriters write for a wide variety of industries and can assist you with your content creation needs. For many business owners, hiring a copywriter has proven to be the ideal solution. They can focus primarily on their business and feel confident knowing that their website is written just the way they want.

What does hiring a copywriter do for your business?

  • Improve website performance by adding optimized and well-researched content
  • Increase relevance to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines
  • Inform your clients of new products, services
  • Blog writing and new posts help position you as the expert in your field
  • Stay ahead of your competition

Why is adding content to your website such a big deal?

Websites that add relevant content to their website have a higher chance of staying ahead of competing sites that choose to remain stagnant. If you’re adding new products, services, or just have something to say about your industry, getting it out online is also a great way to stay maintain and build on your customer base.

Put yourself in the shoes of your target consumer. Let’s say they see your site and the site of your competitor. Imagine if your competitor was actively adding helpful content their blog, or had a “New Products” that listed recent inventory specials. Now, imagine if your site was last updated sometime last year, didn’t have a blog, or at the very least, your new product listings. Which company would you shop with?

What to expect from your copywriter:

The process is simple and straightforward, we connect you to a professional writer who knows how to write for your target audience and the search engines. They will ask you questions related to your customer base as well as the benefits of your products and services. Once a firm understanding is reached and the writer understands what motivates your customer, they will create some draft content and send it to you prior to publication. You will maintain choice and control at all times.

From creating custom e-commerce pages to direct B2B marketing, you can rest easy knowing that GFIT has copywriters on hand who want to bring your site’s performance to the next level.

Contact GFIT today to inquire about our local copy writing service.

May 25 Quiz with ANSWERS!

  1. Can you afford not to take me up on this offer – where you get 40 years’ worth of sales experience distilled into one comprehensive program–for $50% off the full price?

Well, we’ve got a dash followed by two hyphens (which I know are difficult to see), and then there’s that “$50% off” phrase. Accepted style would be 50% off, or, better, 50 percent.

2) I assume you realize by now this is very advanced training and coaching platform and an elite group of high-level Entrepreneurs right here in the South Florida….

Don’t underline for emphasis; it’s so ’80s. Plus, does he mean “for an elite…”? (Otherwise, the sentence makes no sense.) Plus, “entrepreneurs” is not a proper noun and shouldn’t be capitalized. Plus, what’s up with all the ellipses? That’s a really annoying habit when you meet it four (or eight) times in one email.

3) NOTE — This was a “one-time-only”, deeply-discounted opportunity for being at the event in person.

First thing: commas and periods are always placed inside quotation marks in American English. Always. Second thing: don’t hyphenate an -ly adverb. Third thing: “being at the event” means, to my mind, that you were there “in person,” so why be redundant? Fourth thing: ditch the underlining.

4) All based on my 19+ years of proven, experienced-based reuslts in the sales and marketing arena, having built three 7-figure businesses before the age of 41.

Geez-us, please-us, can’t you spell? If you can’t, with all that money you’ve made, you need to hire a frigging secretary! Plus, cut out all the underlining!

5) What Navy SEAL’s Know About Success [This is a fragment.]

The plural of an acronym without periods is formed by adding a lowercase “s”: SEALs.

6) I am reaching out to you and we want to be sure that you enjoy yourself and that you received XYZ’s email.

Spare me the trite phrase “reach out” to whatever. Plus, you “want to be sure that” I “enjoy” myself? Excuse me? Plus, this is a great example of a run-on sentence.

7) It’s a world where Entrepreneurs and Business Owners come who seek dramatic, fast business growth, greater control and leverage…

Don’t capitalize nouns that aren’t proper nouns because you think that doing so makes people feel more important. Words like entrepreneur, business owner, visitor, guest, and so on are just not proper nouns, and capitalizing those words makes you look, well, silly. Plus, I would have used “dramatic” and left it at that.

8) It’s why we’ve become known as, “The Place For Prosperity.”

Gee. No comma after “as.” Plus, don’t combine quotes and italics.

9) In order to get the professionally-produced HD Quality replay of this event, you must register…

Don’t hyphenate an -ly adverb. I would, however, hyphenate “HD-quality,” but I’d lowercase “quality.” And no reason to tack on that ellipsis (which should be a 4-point ellipsis anyway) at the end of that sentence. Makes you sound uncertain, like a wimp, when you…trail…off…like that….

10) You are receiving this Email because you have signed into one of my web sites or you’ve purchased a product or training from me online or in person. There is no other way for this Email to be triggered. If you are independently wealthy already and cannot benefit from my two decades of proven, experience-based sales and marketing advice, click the link below to unsubscribe from any future Emails. Or, you may update your Email address below as well:

Don’t you hate the vaguely threatening and totally condescending tone of this bit at the end? Plus, email shouldn’t be capitalized. Plus, “website’ is one word: it’s 2016, dude.

And, no way I’m going to  “unsubscribe.” For an editor to demonstrate bad writing…you’re the bomb! In fact, I await your next installment, which I’m sure will come again like a soft, springtime shower, with bated breath. O, Speak again, bright angel….

When is “good enough” good enough, Part II.

Ah, the joys of egotistical know-it-alls just keep coming.

I recognize that there’s a perverseness in finding joy in other people’s mistakes and bad writing. However, the only time I really do something about these mistakes and bad writing is when someone or some organization has set himself, herself, or itself up as an authority.  If you’re an author, a publisher, a dictionary website, a self-proclaimed expert in sales, marketing, and/or entrepreneurship, then you need to watch out, especially if you want me or anyone else to pay to sit at your feet and soak up your wisdom.

I met just such a know-it-all last month at a conference and then again last week. I think he’d win the “Sloppy Entrepreneur” award of the year if there was such a thing. His writing is the subject of my 10-Question Quiz and my “When is ‘good enough’ good enough” post, and, like all these people, he’s besieging me with vaguely threatening emails about the consequences of not taking him up on the amazing (excuse me, “awesome”) opportunity he’s offering me (for $1000+ a year).

Here’s how this afternoon’s email from him starts:

I just read this quote from a book I’m reading:

“The moment you say ‘I know evertyhing’ is the end of your growth.”

And frankly, it got me a bit concerned about your business growth…

You know what, bud, don’t be concerned about my business; with that kind of sloppy writing, you have plenty to say grace over about yours!

There was also this little gem in the same email:

Can you really afford NOT to be aligned with these type of people and this type of proprietary, advanced training each and every month?

And this sentence, with two punctuation mistakes and questionable use of underlining:

Remember, this was a “one-time-only”, deeply-discounted opportunity for being at the event in person.

Keep your money in your pocket! Can you really afford to be aligned with this type of sleazy, sloppy person? No, no, a thousand times NO!

What’s with these arrogant jerks?

May 25 10-Question Quiz!

  1. Can you afford not to take me up on this offer – where you get 40 years’ worth of sales experience distilled into one comprehensive program–for $50% off the full price?
  2. I assume you realize by now this is very advanced training and coaching platform and an elite group of high-level Entrepreneurs right here in the South Florida….
  3. NOTE — This was a “one-time-only”, deeply-discounted opportunity for being at the event in person.
  4. All based on my 19+ years of proven, experienced-based reuslts in the sales and marketing arena, having built three 7-figure businesses before the age of 41.
  5. What Navy SEAL’s Know About Success [This is a fragment.]
  6. I am reaching out to you and we want to be sure that you enjoy yourself and that you received XYZ’s email.
  7. It’s a world where Entrepreneurs and Business Owners come who seek dramatic, fast business growth, greater control and leverage…
  8. It’s why we’ve become known as, “The Place For Prosperity.”
  9. In order to get the professionally-produced HD Quality replay of this event, you must register…
  10. You are receiving this Email because you have signed into one of my web sites or you’ve purchased a product or training from me online or in person. There is no other way for this Email to be triggered. If you are independently wealthy already and cannot benefit from my two decades of proven, experience-based sales and marketing advice, click the link below to unsubscribe from any future Emails. Or, you may update your Email address below as well:

When is “good enough” good enough?

I attended a workshop in Ft. Lauderdale a week ago, put on by a fellow who is the author of four books, the publisher of a magazine, and, according to him, an all-round sales guru. We met in April when he was the keynote speaker at a conference where I was presenting my “Write Right, Right NOW! The Ultimate Writing Boot Camp for Successful Speakers.” At this conference, he presented two PowerPoint lectures that were full of typos, and punctuation and grammar mistakes. He misspelled the host organization’s name two different ways. And his magazines! Don’t get me started. Huge, embarrassing mistakes on every page. I edited three issues, and handed them to him after the conference. I offered to give him an hour’s worth of editing consultation at no charge, which he indicated he’d be interested in discussing.

So on Thursday I traveled to Ft. Lauderdale to see if I could turn him from a cocky know-it-all into a cocky salesperson who is at least smart enough to know what he doesn’t know, and who would consider hiring me to edit his materials. Was there a sincere desire for excellence? In other words, would he back up his big talk with a commitment to publishing professional-level marketing materials?

Not hardly.

The PowerPoint he presented had 27 slides with at least one serious mistake; some slides had more than one mistake. There may have been more mistakes, but he was moving so fast through the last group of slides that I didn’t have a chance to read them thoroughly. He made every bush-league mistake in the book: misspelled words, missing words, grammar mistakes, punctuation mistakes, and mistakes I had never seen before.

So I went up to him afterwards with my list. I waited until he was by himself, so he wouldn’t be embarrassed. I reminded him when and where we met, and again offered the hour of consultation. What did he say? He laughed and said that he didn’t need it. His staff, you see, writes “so fast” that its members can’t be bothered to make sure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed.

I said, Yeah, but you have at least 27 slides on the PowerPoint you just presented, the PowerPoint that you used to try to get me and everyone else in the audience to pay more than a thousand bucks a year to join your “group,” and that’s 27 too many.

He looked at me like I was a purple polka dotted alien and said that no one but me would ever notice that words were misspelled, and, even if someone did, no one would care. The PowerPoint, he said, was “good enough.”

I have to wonder at what point his work would not be “good enough.” Is it the number of mistakes? Would 28 be too many? Or, is it his audience members, who, he predicts, don’t know and won’t care?

One thing I’m confident about though. It’s not worth talking to someone like that. People who are deliberately ignorant—wait, let me rephrase that: people who are determinedly ignorant aren’t worth my time. And, certainly, not worth my money. Why in the world would I shell out a thousand-plus dollars a year to deal with someone who can’t spell? Someone who is sloppy? What, exactly, could I learn from someone like that?

You never know how much business being sloppy can cost you. In this case, it cost him my business. You can get a lot of editing done for a thousand bucks!

Bottom line: good writing makes you money.

Calling ALL Professional Speakers and Aspiring Professional Speakers!

Are You the Complete Package?

Thoughts about launching ModernSpeaker.com from Liz Coursen.

I’ve been thinking about launching a speaker-related business for quite a while—it was some years ago when I saw a “professional speaker” website with biographies and program descriptions from hundreds of professional speakers that contained hundreds of typos, misspelled words, basic punctuation and grammar mistakes…it was horrible! I contacted the owners of the site and suggested that I start working with their clients, and they told me that it wasn’t their business. How their clients represented themselves on their website was none of their business.

Are you kidding me? As a speaker you are shooting yourself in the foot if you are not represented perfectly in writing on all your marketing materials and, especially, on the internet. (And shame on those website owners for not insisting on professional standards!)

Professional public speakers must master two skills to be as successful as possible: speaking and writing. Oh, don’t think that just because you’re some great speaker that you don’t have to create flawless prose! It never ceases to amaze me the basic writing errors I see on the websites of so-called professional speakers.

I presented a writing workshop, “Write Right, Right Now! The Ultimate Writing Bootcamp for Professional Speakers,” at the excellent Toastmasters District 47 Spring Conference in Ft. Lauderdale a couple of  Saturdays ago, and led off my program with the biography of a PhD who says he charges $7,500 per speech. There were 11 misspelled words to ogle in his bio! How does that happen?

You need to be the complete package, with speaking and writing skills. That’s why every Modern Speaker client receives two books from us: Before You Even Open Your Mouth: Business Writing for Professional Speakers, and The Book Tourist: Seven Steps to a Wildly Successful Book Tour. I wrote these two books for you; they are excellent for the next step: publishing your book. Yes, your book! You need to write everything down so you can become an author! I can help you to be a published author! I can walk you through the entire publishing process. And, your book is your entrée to more speaking engagements!

My co-founder and good friend Gayle Williams will be talking about coaching and internet marketing, but I’m on the team to write, and explain to you all what you should have learned in eighth grade: punctuation and grammar. Punctuation and grammar are such interesting topics! I’m going to help you learn to write better, to write more effectively; I’m going to show you how to get more and better-paying speaking engagements and create flawless marketing materials; Gayle is going to coach and add her stellar expertise in website management and SEO; and together we’re going to help you to get your message out, to inspire and motivate people, to create authority, and become the leader you were born to be.

That’s what Modern Speaker is all about. Gayle and I are both on our own speaking trajectories, and we’ll share our tips and tools to get you out in front of the public. How to fill every venue. How to get featured in local news outlets. How to cultivate your content.

Work with us. Be the complete package as a professional speaker: excellent speaking abilities and flawless writing.

Information. Advice. Encouragement.

www.Modern Speaker.com.

Liz Coursen