Do you love the people you write for?

heart_toastOne of my most important things I write each year is a Valentine’s Day message for my wife Toni. A lot of men stress about finding the perfect words, and I’ll freely admit I’m one of them.

Luckily, I have a big advantage. I know that I married the right woman. That means I don’t have to struggle to find sincere things to say or force sentiments I don’t really feel.

This kind of devotion isn’t just for Valentine’s day, especially if you’re in the creative industry. I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t believe in something, I can’t write about it. It’s a disservice to the client. No matter how good a writer I may be, I can’t fake sincerity.

What’s more, there are few things more stressful than doing work you don’t enjoy.

So take a look at the people you’re selling to. Do you like them? Do you love them? Would you sell your stuff to a trusted friend?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s time for you to re-think what you’re creating.

Happy Valentine’s day,

-Tom

  Short copy: small but mighty

short-stackThere are days when I wonder if words like to mess with people. Sometimes the mischief is obvious, like “its” vs. “it’s.” Words with multiple sounds or meanings are a bit sneakier (think “read,” “dove,” or “wind”).

But words are most devious in short copy.

Shouldn’t a quick headline or three-sentence “copy byte” be easier to write than a 20-page letter? After all, it’s easier to make a short stack of pancakes than to feed a roomful. Don’t words work the same way?

Nope.

Fact is, words distribute the workload. Fewer words mean each one has to work harder. That’s why the cost per word often goes up when writers have fewer words to work with.

Of course, hard-working words have a better chance of grabbing attention when readers have a short attention span. Which is most of the time.

Ten words or less? That’s power.

-Tom