The image that goes with this post appeared in a press release from Easy Jet. Possibly the finest example of why words and the way you use them are important. The headline is not to tell you that flights have been dropped from the schedule to Amsterdam. Indeed, quite the opposite. New flights have been dropped INTO the schedule!
Confusing, isn’t it? Unless you’re completely familiar with the language of modern youth culture, it appears the flights are reducing in number. Nobody in our office got it, not even our 24-year-old graduate. However, Annie observed that EasyJet often send out emails telling us the latest offers have ‘dropped’.
So presumably some hip young thing in the marketing office penned this epistle, using their best internal chat-speak. They didn’t stop to think that there’s a big wide world outside the EasyJet office! Weirdly, someone must have also signed it off. Because surely you wouldn’t put a press release out in the wild without someone checking it? This comes back to something we’re always telling clients…
Words are important. People may interpret one word or phrase differently from the way you interpret it. When selling in copy, words become more important. We use lots of tools and resources to help us check what we’re doing works. The reason is that we don’t trust ourselves. When we’ve done all the testing then someone always double-checks the work to see if it’s ok. Only then, do we allow it out of the door. And even then we don’t always get it right!
Whether you’re writing an email invitation, a newsletter, or an article for publication, you want your reader to be able to easily understand you. So how can you ensure you don’t fall victim to the EasyJet effect?
- Get a grown-up to check your homework! Always get your writing reviewed by an independent pair of eyes.
- Don’t use jargon – particularly internal jargon. There are a number of firms that make up their own internal acronyms and then expect potential customers to know what they’re on about – stop it. Now!
- Use online tools to help you – there are lots out there, here are a few:
- Hemingway app – helps you write in simple and clear sentences.
- Co-Schedule subject checker – helps you write titles and email subjects.
- Grammarly – checks your grammar as you type.
- Denny Hatch’s checklist – don’t try and sell anything without it!
- Natural reader – if you don’t have anyone to read your text for you. Or even if you do!
- And above all, think. Can you say what you’re trying to say in a more simple, clearer way?
The key is simplicity. Simple, conversational language is all that’s needed. Nobody needs to have to try and work out a load of jargon, colloquialisms or business-speak. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Good luck. And of course, if you need help, you know where we are!