Hi. Welcome to my blog. Would you like to read it? If not, that’s okay. I know you’re busy. I wouldn’t want to interrupt. What I have to say isn’t all that important. But if you’d like to read, or buy my services, then that’s okay too. I wouldn’t want to be an imposition or anything—
*insert harsh record scratch sound bite here*
Recently I received an email from someone starting their own business. We get solicitations all the time. Some of them are obnoxiously bold and others…well, they’re like what you read above. They’re meek and timid. They apologize for being a start-up biz. I go to the website (because I have to check out everyone’s website…it’s a thing) and I see their copy is just as bland. The writing shows no confidence and screams, “I am a newbie and I’m unsure about my skills!”
Take a look at this and see if you can spot the problems. This is the email I got and I’m not using it to embarrass anyone. It’s a good example that clearly illustrates what I’m talking about. All critiques are done with love and I really do want to see everyone out there improving their copy for their own sake.
I just started an author service and I´m just wondering if you want a PA, Agent and/or Publisher? This is my newly launched wesite [sic] please check it out and if you´re interested just message me here 🙂 and if you’re not that’s fine too 🙂
Emoticons are not punctuation. Smiley faces in an email to a potential client are rather unprofessional. Sure, I use them from time to time, but only with people who are good friends and know me already. People you’re trying to impress don’t want to see an inquiry for a potential job riddled with smiley faces. Save the emoticons and web-speak for your phone texts with your friends.
Never apologize for sending a query. I’m just wondering…I’m sorry…Excuse me…if you’re not interested, that’s okay too…why are you making apologies for doing your job? You saw a need and you’re offering to help. Nothing wrong with that, unless you’re a telemarketer calling me at dinner time, then you damn well better apologize. Other than that, these kind of phrases make you sound insecure and wishy-washy
You’re new to this? Really. There’s also nothing wrong with saying you have a new site, new product, or new service. As entrepreneurs we’re coming up with new stuff all the time. However…no one needs to know that you are an absolute beginner. Normally a newly launched website wouldn’t be a red flag for me, but combined with all the other errors, it says not only is your website new, but you are too.
Check your spelling. Before you hit “send” on that contact form or email, double check your spelling, especially if you’re offering author/publishing services. Not only did this person have spelling errors in the email, but they had glaring mistakes on the site as well. No way would I trust publishing my book with a company like this if they can’t even get their own website copy right.
Watch out for passive language. This one is tricky. Words like “be”, “of”, “are”, “was” and “it” just to name a few, make a sentence vague. For example:
“We were invited to a party by the neighbors.”
A stronger sentence is, “The neighbors invited us to their house for a party.”
Passive voice often leaves the subject vague, like no one wants to take responsibility for anything happening in it. A strong voice takes responsibility and action for what’s being said. Click here and check out some more good examples.
Your challenge this week is to take a look at your own copy, and even your blog posts. Are you being wimpy? Is your copy less than it can be? Is your voice too passive?
Still not clear about your copy? No problem. We help authors, bloggers and site owners just like you with our own writing mentoring services every day. Get in touch with us and tell us how we can help you.