Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to avoid writing “awful” business copy

If you write business copy for an employer or for yourself, I have a brief reading assignment for you. I hope you will accept it.

It’s a 1400-word article titled, “Why Is Business Writing So Awful?,” by a software entrepreneur named Jason Fried (pictured). It is one of the best pieces I have ever read on this topic.

Mr. Fried says, “If you could taste words, most corporate websites, brochures, and sales materials would remind you of stale, soggy rice cakes: nearly calorie free, devoid of nutrition, and completely unsatisfying.”

He warns, “When you write like everyone else and sound like everyone else and act like everyone else, you’re saying, ‘Our products are like everyone else’s, too.’ ”

Then he does something very helpful; he describes three companies that unmistakably stand out, and he shows you why they stand out.

The Takeaway: Read “Why Is Business Writing So Awful?,” by Jason Fried. If the ideas in it are thoroughly familiar to you, be proud and walk tall. You are one of the champions. If they are not, read the piece a few times and assimilate the ideas. It will be the best thing you do for yourself this year.

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