Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SEO Content Tips: Why Overused Business Catch Phrases Could Hurt Your Brand

Every industry/niche has its own jargon and buzz words. Before you sit down to write your next article, email, or blog post, look at the words you use. Are you using industry jargon and words that will go right over your audience's head? You want to speak to, and not AT, your audience. Obviously, there are times you can't avoid jargon (especially if you work in a very jargon-oriented industry like finance, etc.), however, the way you write to a colleague and/or employee is very different than how you should address your target markets/audience.

Ditch Overused Words 
You want your articles and blog posts to be easily found in the search engines, so write for your audience (and not for the search engines). Yes, keywords are important but write for actual human beings and don't inundate your audience with rambling, verbose jargon that leaves them confused.

Ditch the corporate speak. Avoid using the following words and "catch phrases" when writing business-related correspondence or content. These words/statements get overused in business content and the meaning becomes lost. Not to mention, you start sounding like every other brand/company out there.

  • unique
  • out of pocket
  • push the envelope
  • leverage
  • incentivize
  • level the playing field
  • impactful
  • hit the ground running
  • liaise
  • on the same page
  • guesstimate
  • go rogue
  • synergize/synergy
  • think outside the box
  • win-win
  • value-added
  • turnkey
  • under the radar
  • throw under the bus
  • throw it against the wall and see if it sticks
People don't want to read overused catch phrases that don't make any sense to them. Research and write about topics that interest your audiences and don't speak down to them! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Lady Thigh Shaper Debacle: Why Unsolicited Direct Mailings Are a Major Fail in the Digital Age

Sorry for the hiatus. I was knee-deep in true crime blogging about the Jodi Arias trial but now I'm back on track with my Zenful blog. So where were we?

A few months ago I was sent a piece of unsolicited mail. That's right, folks. An actual postcard that was delivered to me by the U.S. Postal Service. I didn't even know direct mailings still existed? I was not having the best day so when I read the postcard about "lady thigh shapers"-- evil looking stocking contraptions that reminded me of those horrid circulation stockings (which are not fun to wear--been there, done that!) -- I wasn't a happy camper.

I fired off an email to their customer service rep and basically told them they wasted postage by sending me an unsolicited piece of mail (can you say recycle bin?) and asked them to take me off their mailing list and to never contact me again. First, it is insulting to me as a woman. Did they find pictures of women online and say hmmm, look at the thighs on her, she really needs our vice-constricting thigh shapers, that will not only suck the cellulite in, but will also cut off her circulation? Thanks, but NO thanks!

I'm not going to name the company because I don't want to give them any publicity. C'mon, in the age of the internet and email campaigns, sending unsolicited direct mail is a HUGE waste of money -- not to mention it's a MAJOR fail.

That piece of mail really annoyed me and it only takes one customer, like me, to spread the word--and not in a good way! I told other friends about what happened and posted the information on my social media about my bad experience with this company. As a result, at least 200 plus people read about this company's spammy direct mailing. A lot of my female friends commented on what a lame product it was anyway--why would women even WANT to wear those awful stockings? Sorry, but the lace trim doesn't disguise the fact that they look like shapewear for women FAR older than me.

So word to the wise to all lady shapewear companies, don't send out direct mailings and insult women who never "opted in" and shared their contact information with you. I'm sure they bought my information from a list but the tired tricks of circa-90s direct mailings just don't work--and they definitely DO NOT work on me.

Major fail. You won't ever catch me wearing lady thigh shapers. Ever.

Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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