123 Junk Blog – 123 Junk was started by a college graduate who is noted by the Washington Business Journal as turning “junk heaps into gold mines.” Their blog is very business-centric and has some great posts that focus on building the customer-business relationship.
Many years ago, when I was cutting my teeth as a business writer, I made the same mistake. Then my editor told me to go back over my copy and edit out every time I used the word “that”. He said it would make my copy stronger, and you know, he was right. Although the use of “that” might be grammatically correct, it is unnecessary and overused.
Now, there are times when you need to use the word “that,” but most times it is superfluous to the copy. Effective copy needs to be brief and clear. If you are using the word “that,” you are using too many words in your sentence. How can you cut back the sentence to make a more powerful and interesting statement?
Can you see the difference in this example?
- Original: Margot said that she was going to take dancing lessons so that she would someday become a great ballerina.
- Better said: Margot planned to take dancing lessons, hoping to someday become a great ballerina.
If it is a person, use “who.”
When writing about a person, use the word “who” instead of “that,” as in this example:
- Original: The man that held the door was wearing a green uniform.
- Better said: The man who held the door wore a green uniform.
Hire an Expert Business Copywriter
When you’re considering hiring a copywriter, ask for writing samples, and note how many times you see the word “that.” If it is used more than a few times, you’ll know you’re working with a beginner, and may not get the best bang for your buck. It’s a quick way to tell.
When you need powerful, effective business writing, hire an expert. Contact All the Buzz.
Even as a professional writer, I have to review everything I write to make sure I am writing in “active voice.” I review for it in my professional writing as well as my everyday correspondences via email or letters, and believe it or not, I usually find at least one place where I can make my writing stronger.
What is Active Voice?
When using active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action expressed in the verb: The girl brushed the dog. An example of this same sentence in passive voice would be: The dog was brushed by the girl. One tip for identifying a passive sentence is to look for the word “by.”
Why is Active Voice Important?
Active voice sentences are preferable in writing because Continue reading →
One of the companies for which All the Buzz writes blog posts is listed as one of the “Top 10” blogs in their industry. We’re excited by the listing and the client is thrilled. Not only does their listing (holding its own against the big national companies) give credibility to their company, it elevates them in both online searches and credibility in the eyes of their customers. In addition, the client, 123JUNK, has seen a significant rise in their web traffic with regular blog posting.
The industry itself isn’t glamorous, it’s junk removal. But is an essential service that everyone needs. Here is how the listing is noted:
Not bad for a regional company that just opened their second location!
If you’d like to see your online traffic increase, Continue reading →
As a writer, the most common one I hear us: “Everyone can write. Why should I hire you to do it?”
Yes, everyone CAN write. But my question back is: “Can they write well?” When you are a business owner the words you use to create your brand and attract customers can make or break you.
You have only seconds to capture someone’s attention, Continue reading →
Over and over again you hear people mixing up the two words Comprise and Compose. They may sound similar, but have entirely different meanings, and are commonly confused for each other, most often with the word comprised being used where the word composed is correct.
Let’s start with the meaning of each word:
- Comprise: Consist of
- Compose: To make up or form by combining things, parts or elements
To do a quick check as to which word would be appropriate in your sentence, Continue reading →
I learned a technique as a magazine writer. As an exercise, we wrote a sentence or paragraph using ordinary words, as in this example:
- John went to the store to buy bananas.
Then we had to replace the ordinary words and phrases with more descriptive ones, as in this example:
- John lumbered into the small neighborhood grocery on his quest for the most perfectly ripe bananas to please his perfectionist mother.
The first sentence merely says what he does, the second sentence tells a whole story.
By simply expanding your vocabulary you can wake up your copy, make it inviting and exciting, and attract customers. After all, we don’t buy the product itself, we actually buy if for what it does for us or how it makes us feel.
Does Your Copy Just Say What You Do, or Does it Tell a Story?
How can you use an expanded vocabulary to better describe your business in a way that tells your story? Continue reading →
Although we’d love to work with everyone, in reality, there are only so many clients we can work with at one time if we want to continue to provide our high level of service. And those clients who work with us stay with us for years. It’s rare that we have openings!
Here are some of the reasons our blog writing clients love us and why you will too: Continue reading →
If you have ever worked with a creative agency to mount a new website, you’ve probably been asked to provide the website copy up front. This can be daunting to someone who is unfamiliar with building a website, or to a person intimidated by writing. (That’s why we get brought in so often.)
Different agencies work in different ways: some want the copy up front, while others provide a template “look” first and then build the copy based on the template.
Which should come first: the copy or the design?
I find this dilemma similar to the age-old question “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?”, and as with the chicken query, both can be correct. Continue reading →
When something big takes over the news, like with this East Coast snowstorm, it gives you a wonderful opportunity to sell! Use references to the blizzard, snow, cold, ice, or invoke images of sitting by the fireplace, wrapping up in snow gear, or drinking hot chocolate. Liven up your script with action words like sledding, skating, skiing, snowmobiling, plowing, or shoveling. Events have a short shelf live, so the quicker you jump on this opportunity, Continue reading →