Today is Easter Sunday, the second day of Passover, and Big Word Day, a day that encourages people to use king-sized words just to impress others.
I love words. Sometimes I like big words (and I cannot lie!).
But using big words for the sake of using big words...? So. Dumb.
The point of writing is to connect with other people. To be understood. To shed a little light on the world. (If that's not the point, you're writing a diary.)
That's why I'm always yammering on about clear writing. But even better than clear alone is clear buddied up with a vivid, recognizable style.
What's "vivid style" mean?
It means that you add color and description to evoke emotion. One way to do that is to use some detail.
Details make writing come alive. Details paint a picture in a reader's mind. And that's critical in Marketing, especially, where our goal is to ignite change.
So what kind of details should you pay the most attention to? Here are 5 things I pay attention to the most, packaged as a memorable, roly-poly acronym.
THE P.A.N.D.A. 🐼 GUIDE TO VIVID WRITING
🐼 P is for Percentages/numbers in context
No: 14% of us believe robots will eventually rule the world.
Yes: 14% of us believe robots will eventually rule the world—that's the entire population of the state of Texas, with a few counties in Oklahoma roped in.
🐼 A is for Analogies in context
Notice in that last sentence, not "a few Oklahoma counties included" but "a few counties in Oklahoma roped in." Because "roped in" invokes cattle, the southwest, Texas, Oklahoma. The analogy is stronger for it.
🐼 N is for Name the thing
Yes: A black Lab named Otter
🐼 D is for Ditch weakling verbs
And sparingly use "thinking" verbs that happen internally (like Thinks, Knows, Understands, Realizes, etc). Show, don't tell.
This advice comes from Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club):
No: "Don't tell your reader: 'Lisa hated Tom.'"
Yes: "During roll call, in the breath after the teacher said Tom’s name, in that moment before he could answer, right then, Lisa would whisper-shout: ‘Butt Wipe," just as Tom was saying, ‘Here’."
FINALLY... let's loop back to where we started—avoiding Big Words for the Sake of Big Words:
🐼 A is for Accessible, simple language
No: Here is a hexad of cognitive content meriting distribution these septem of days.
Yes: Here are six things worth sharing this week!
No, really. Here are six things worth sharing this week... 😉
* * *
No Rest for the Vivid
Vivid writing is especially key in business-to-business writing, where software or service or solution feels less real, less tangible.
How to Immediately Improve Customer Experience
For the past few weeks, I've been on the road speaking at a slew of marketing events and conferences. One thing I've noticed: sometimes the chasm feels deep and vast between what's being suggested on stage and what the audience feels capable of doing.
Every other company seems to already be customer-centric & data-savvy. Everyone else seems to be stacking their martech stack higher than yours.
No Guts No Story 📖
NPR's storytelling blueprint is GREAT for planning long-form content projects. I particularly like Section 4, which asks you to distill ideas into a Mad Libs-style statement of whom this is for and what need it meets. Use it for team brainstorming, or for fleshing out your big idea. Grab the PDF or Google Doc
It's been 5 years since The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn debuted! But this isn't a nostalgia post: LinkedIn has fully rehabbed the guide, Chip and JoJo style. If you want to better use LinkedIn to market your business and build your brand, this definitive how-to has you covered. (I was quoted in the 2014 version, and I'm in the new version, too.)
Related 👉 👉 👉 LinkedIn by the numbers, according to TopRank:
- Number of members: 610 million in 200 countries
- Ratio of professionals that number represents: 1 out of every 3
- Number of new members per second: 2
- Number of companies represented: 30 million
- Number of B2B marketers you need to know: these 24 right here
Waiting to Email
Exactly 66.4% of you opened the Welcome email you got from me when you subscribed to this newsletter.
Why is that Welcome email such a focus of mine? Because it sets the tone for our relationship. To quote the great Greek philosopher Pinterest:
"You never get a second chance to make that first impression."
Only 57.7% of us send Welcome emails, says Andy Shore. Yet, on average, they generate 4x more opens, and generate 3x more transactions and revenue per email.
Someone gives you their email address. Do you treat it like it arrived in a velvet-lined box hewed from old-growth trees, carried in on the wings of songbirds? Here are six steps to make your Welcome email sing like a songbird
. (H/T Josh Spector)
Content, marketing tools I used this week.
curates multi-tweet sequences, or Twitter "threads," making it easier to read and refer to because it pulls together the tweets of a thread, but hides any replies, retweets, etc. You can also boss ThreaderApp around on Twitter just by tagging it and telling it to "compile."
your writing. This tool is made for science writers, but it can help any of us avoid the Curse of Knowledge.
✔️ The Easter Bunny and Ikea. Ikea's flat-pack 3-piece chocolate Easter Bunny is a play on Ikea's trademark DIY furniture. No Allen keys required.