Seth Godin on Writing

I subscribe to Seth Godin’s RSS feed and as bloggers go, he’s way better than most.  Sure, he occasionally overdoes it, pounding a theme into total submission, but on average, he writes something pretty insightful at least three times a week.

This morning, he wrote the following, which I am copying and pasting brazenly and shamelessly from his feed:

Element 79 Chicago Advertising Dennis RyanBut you’re not saying anything

And this is the problem with just about every lame speech, every overlooked memo, every worthless bit of boilerplate foisted on the world: you write and write and talk and talk and bullet and bullet but no, you’re not really saying anything.

It took me two minutes to find a million examples. Here’s one, “The firm will remain competitive in the constantly changing market for defense legal services by creating and implementing innovative and effective methods of providing cost-effective, quality representation and services for our clients.”

Write nothing instead. It’s shorter.

Most people work hard to find artful ways to say very little. Instead of polishing that turd, why not work harder to think of something remarkable or important to say in the first place?

Ahh, the curse of responsible, well-intended invisibility, where that which is less familiar is passed over in favor of something that ‘sounds right.’  If more copywriters and brand managers subscribed to this philosophy, our marketing world would be a far less boring place.

Happy Friday!

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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Steve Poppe says:

Agreed, less markobabble in writing and meetings is a wonderful time-saver. And might we go a day without using the word “authentic” this year? Hee hee.