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Date: 8/8/2003

Understanding the power of words

By Lesley Ann Marston, Freelance Writer
Copyright 2003

Are the words you use to promote your business sending out a clear message? Put another way, are you saying what you mean and meaning what you say? Confused? Well, why not start with a clean page and consider these important points when choosing and using words to promote your business?

First words
What are your first words? No, not 'dada' or 'mama', what are the first words your customers and prospects will see, read or hear about your business? Often, words like 'I', 'us' or 'we' are in there along with a couple of 'ours', 'me' and 'mine'. In addition there's likely to be, 'best', 'better', 'quality', 'mission', 'deliver', 'exciting', 'striving', 'announcing' or maybe even 'spectacular', 'marvellous' or 'new'; there might be the occasional 'you' or 'yours'? Ideally, the focus of the words should be directed towards the customer rather than your organisation or staff. Furthermore, any 'features' of your organisation that are worth trumpeting, should be backed up by an explanation of how this feature can 'benefit' the potential customer. It is worth looking at your promotional material and considering if a potential customer is left asking the question, 'OK, YOU'RE great, but, what can you do for ME?'. More often than not, a phrase that includes a 'we' can be re-written as a, more welcoming, phrase that includes 'you'. For example, "We make the most durable widgets in the world" could be changed to "You will be able to rely on our widgets, they are the most durable widgets in the world".

Choosing your words
Before you decide on which genre to use to communicate your business message it is vital to understand the power within the words you choose: so please choose carefully, or better still get a professional to do it for you. A professional copywriter will provide examples for you and gently guide you to think clearly about what you are trying to say. A professional could also prevent you from making an awful mistake like this one, seen in a magazine promoting healthy eating, "If your children don't like raw carrots why not boil them for twenty minutes first", oh dear.

Information or Action
When we communicate using the written or spoken word we can also choose the response that we want. For example by using words which educate and inform the writer knows that his words will benefit the reader; and may indeed enrich their life in some way. In contrast by using words which stimulate thought, inspire creativity and transform passivity into action we can begin to see just how powerful words can be.

Your customers
If you could ask your customers, which words do you think they would choose to describe your business? Would they use words like, knowledgeable, approachable, friendly, professional, reliable or would they choose vague, uninterested, indifferent, forgetful or just plain boring? Would the words they choose convey the message that they feel cared for and cared about? If you do not yet have a customer base, you can use this exercise to explore your future word investment.

Lesley Ann Marston
Freelance Writer

Further Information

For more information on how to get the best from the words you are using send an email to the writer at: with 'word enquiry' as the subject.

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last modified: August 08, 2003