The Write Stuff August 2016 Volume 12 Issue 8

Don’t Shoot the Messenger (Even if it Seems Appropriate)

Is it more important to have flawless copy or a compelling message? Ideally, you have both, but if I was forced to choose, you might be surprised to learn I’d go with the latter. Here are two examples of messages I recently received that fell flat — not because of flawed copy, but a flawed message.

Yes, I Know I’m Getting Older
In early August, I received a birthday card. Not a strange occurrence except that I’ll leap forward a year on the 31st, so this was way early. The message on the front of the card was a simple “Happy Birthday,” but it was the inside copy that floored me: it offered deals on “age-defying” procedures like Botox from a plastic surgeon. Whaaaaaat? Some marketing person probably thought it was a genius idea to remind a 50-something woman that she might need “maintenance” to look as young as possible, doing so under the guise of sending birthday wishes. Major messaging fail.

No, I’m Not in the Financial Services Industry
I do a lot of networking and am always happy to connect with other professionals, regardless of their industry. However, I was taken aback by a “personal” message I received from someone who’s in an online networking group with me. It started out with the line, “Since we’re both in the financial services industry, I’m sure there are many ways we can help one another.” Whaaaaaat? Clearly, this guy didn’t do his homework and probably sent this same “canned” message to everyone in the group. Another major messaging fail.

My advice: always make sure your message won’t offend anyone or be misconstrued, and take pains to ensure your copy is geared for your audience. If you fail to do either of those things (or both!), you’re wasting your time.

Book Launch
Congratulations to Dr. Kaaren Douglas, whose book, Strategic Follow Up: Five Easy Steps to Build Your Business, is now available via She provides some common sense but often overlooked tips that any networker should know. My connection? I had the honor of editing the book for Kaaren.

12 Years!
On September 1, it will be 12 years since I left a good-paying job to venture into the sometimes precarious world of freelancing. I’ve had ups and downs, but certainly more of the former, and when I get comments like this from clients, it reminds me of how much I love what I do: “I LOVE it!!! I want you to know how much stress you have taken off my plate. You are the best and I’m so happy to have found you.”
Published On: May 25th, 2017 / Categories: 2016 /

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