The Cure for Crappy Copy: Embrace the Strange

There’s a lot of sterile copy out there.
 
And guess what?
 
It doesn’t sell. It doesn’t inspire. It doesn’t even tease out a little smirk.
 
Because it’s BORING.
 
So today, I want to encourage you to write in a way that embraces the strange.
 
Odd is Good
 
Anyone can write using the standard business-speak like “custom solutions” and “high-quality service.”
 
But guess what? That makes eyes glaze over. Readers are like, “DON’T CARRRE.”

If you want your customers or website visitors or email readers to notice you, you need to do something unusual with your writing style.
 
Take this example from CD Baby. They ditched the standard thank you email for something much more interesting:

Thank you for shopping at CD Baby!

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow. A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our world-renowned packing specialist lit a local artisan candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day.


We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sigh...

We miss you already. We’ll be right here at www.cdbaby.com patiently awaiting your return.


See what I mean? This is so much more fun and laced with personality than the simple thank you for your order message.

And more than that—it’s memorable. It makes your customers love you just a little bit more for not being just another piece of garbage in their inbox. You made them smile. And maybe they needed that.

If you had to choose between reading boring and brilliant copy, which would you choose?

Ummmm, it’s the latter, guys. Weirdness, personality, and quirkiness—they’re much more fun and engaging to read.

This is something to seriously consider the next time you’re having a conversation about brand voice.

Consider Your Voice & Audience

A word of caution here: If you’ve been using a formal brand voice for a long time, it’s going to confuse your audience if all of the sudden you start writing in a silly, quirky voice.

You can make the switch, but you might want to consider a re-branding initiative that gives you as chance to re-introduce yourself with a fresh new look and sound. Otherwise, it seems a little out of nowhere, and you risk losing authority.

And if you’re a brand whose audience looks to you for formality, security, and seriousness—this doesn’t make sense. (Bankers, lawyers, doctors—this isn’t a good fit.)

However, you’re not locked in completely to where you once were. You CAN switch up the tone, voice, and style with which you speak to your customers. Just keep in mind that it needs to be done mindfully—and maybe as part of a larger initiative.

Dare to Be Different

The bottom line here: Different is dazzling.

It catches the eye of a reader who’s completely desensitized to reading the same standard copy over and over on a million different pages throughout the day.

And if you’re willing to test it out, you can win the hearts (and minds) of an audience who’s searching for a brand that’s willing to be bold.

This article originally appeared in my newsletter, A Cup of Copy. Sign up and get these free tips sent right to your inbox every other Wednesday.