Before we get going... I wanted to let you know that the audio version of Everybody Writes 2 is out on Audible. I read the audiobook's Introduction.
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Let's dig into some sentences:
1️⃣ "Fed Chair Jerome Powell dropped Mentos into the market's Diet Coke yesterday." —Morning Brew, reporting on Powell's testimony on Capitol Hill, where he said interest rates were going to go higher.
Why I love this: Dropped Mentos into Diet
Coke. What else might Morning Brew writers have said to convey the ripple effect of Powell's words?
"Fed Chair Powell dropped a bomb?" Yawn. Not even Miracle-Gro will resuscitate that shriveled-up metaphor.
"Sent shockwaves?" Boring, overused, unimaginative.
The real problem with using dull, unimaginative metaphors is that your eyes skip over them completely. Maybe you get the gist. But there's no
swagger. No memorable point of view.
You don't get an image in your head anymore, because the words have lost any sharp elbows that sentences need to muscle through the crowds of content and chatter (and ChatGPT).
Mentos in Diet Cokes, though?
Point of view.
I immediately imagine the serious face of Jerome Powell feeding 500 Mentos into a two-liter Diet
Coke with the focused intent of a Vegas gambler feeding the slots.
Why it works for this audience: You remember that Mentos/Diet Coke geyser erupting all over the internet somewhere around 2006, right? So do Morning Brew readers: a young-professional and/or digital-savvy lot.
The Brew's consistent nod to internet pop culture moments like the Mentos/Diet Coke meme is no whim of the writer's. It's intentional.
It's one of the ways the Brew pulls readers in—creating relatability and connection rooted in a shared cultural history.
All in just 7 words.
(Thanks, Carmen Hill, for flagging that sentence.)
2️⃣ "Without an idea and some thought, a sentence is an empty thing—it's like a zombie. Looks like a person, dresses like a person, shuffles like
a person, but the eyes... the eyes." —Doug Kessler, Velocity Partners blog, writing about the rise of AI writing tools.
Why I love this: Sweet Cheez-Its! That metaphor!
A robot-written Zombie as a Sentence (ZaaS?) is great. But then the image literally moves about the page. You observe that zombie "shuffle" about. Not "walks." Shuffles. That specificity makes the entire
...at least until we get to the end of the sentence! Never mind... THIS is the moment to celebrate! When Doug repeats "the eyes... the eyes."
You and I read this and we whisper that second "eyes" in our heads... there's something foreboding and ominous and thrilling carried on that whisper.
I hear the scratch of zombies at the window. I go cold when through the thin glass their dead,
black eyes meet mine.
Why it works for this audience: Doug is writing for B2B
marketers who are a little jittery about the rise of AI tools. Understandably. (Mediocre writers are hosed.)
YET. Doug subtly reminds readers in a meta way that no robot will ever replace your own vibrant, resonant writing voice. ("the eyes... the eyes.") (Which is why you need to engage
your own voice.)
That's my take, anyway. Doug is likely reading this. (Hey, Doug.) I'll let you know if he argues that point with me.
👉 Related: Who is holding the tool?
3️⃣ "Saturday marked the beginning of National Alcohol Awareness Month (NAAM), a public health program established to increase awareness regarding issues related to alcohol and de-stigmatize the disease of addiction. As such, we are taking a pause to talk about a very important topic impacting millions of people: Alcohol Use Disorder."
Why I love this: This one is less about the sentences (they're merely serviceable).
Instead, it's about WHO is writing them. They came delivered in an email from Cathy Lewenberg, CEO of alcohol delivery service Drizly.
I wrote about Drizly's brand voice in Everybody Writes 2. (Do you have a copy? No? We can't stand for that! You need your own!)
The Drizly brand voice is usually playful and lighthearted. But here, Drizly drops the playful tone.
Instead, the brand opts for real talk directly from the CEO that acknowledges addiction and offers a few tools for education, treatment, and recovery. The
email links to Drizly's Alcohol Support Resource Center and (incredibly) offers help disabling a Drizly account.
In other words, an alcohol-on-demand service takes ownership of any role it might play in addiction and abuse. And the message comes from the top. From Cathy.
Also in Everybody Writes 2, I cover writing about Writing About Hard Things. I talk about how the message needs to come from leadership. Drizly nails that.
How I'd make this even better: It's a little too boardroom-speak. "As such," "established to increase awareness regarding issues," and do we need that NAAM acronym? (No we do not. An acronym feels unnecessary in a heartfelt email like this.)
A message like this shows
up ready to work. So don't put it in a corporate suit; dress it like it's casual Friday.
It'll make it more empathetic and real.
Content tools I discovered this week.
LinkedIn Carousel Generator. You can't walk the crowded streets of LinkedIn without stubbing your toe on a series of slides (a "carousel"). If you've
ever wondered how to do it... here's your solution. Add tweets or Reddit posts—and BOOM! It's like watching a tadpole sprout legs to walk in LinkedIn Land. But faster.
This is just for fun. I'm 86. You?
DEPARTMENT OF SHENANIGANS*
A la cart.
* Sorry I forgot this section last time. Thanks to everyone who noticed.
A few places I'll be in the next few weeks.