As former a Creative Director in radio, where commercials range from 10-60 seconds, it always frustrates me when advertisers use unnecessary words. Then they try to compensate by cutting words that are actually relevant to their marketing message.
Even worse, they ask the classic question, “Can’t the voice talent read faster?” After all, unnecessary words are clearly more important than the proper pace, inflection and tone of the read.
One of those unnecessary words is “located.”
It doesn’t matter if it’s a radio commercial, blog post, email blast, website or brochure. Remove “located” from any sentence and it will still sound just fine. When you read it out loud, it actually sounds better. Example: Stop by XYZ Restaurant, located on Main Street in Any City, next to the Post Office.
I always advise business owners to go through every marketing piece and remove any copy that’s unnecessary, awkward or irrelevant to their core marketing message. Then, go back and cut even more.
This forces you to really focus on what’s most important to your target audience and keep your message clear and concise. Read on to find out more words that should never be located in your marketing copy.
A Handful Of Phrases Begging To Be Deleted…
What’s more. Never in my life have I heard this phrase used in a real conversation. Yet it somehow infests marketing copy all over the place. I’d tell you why it’s bad, but I’m not even sure what it means.
Not to mention. “We have all the seed, top soil and fertilizer you need to make your lawn beautiful, not to mention rakes, spreaders and sprinklers.” Guess what? You just mentioned them, so now you look silly.
Look no further. “Looking for a fun place for a kid’s birthday party? Well look no further! ABC Funhouse has…” The goal of every marketing piece ever created is to get someone to choose a business and stop looking. “Look no further” is the epitome of unnecessary.
(Fill in the blank) is right around the corner. “Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so order flowers now.” By marketing flowers as a Valentine’s Day gift, you’re already reminding people that the holiday is coming. There’s no need to waste someone’s time with a “right around the corner” line.
Hurry in! Not to be confused with “Run, don’t walk!” Auto dealers are notorious for using phrases like these as lame attempts to create a sense of urgency. Instead, give me a real reason to visit your dealership, tell me exactly when the sale ends and politely invite me to your dealership.
Any advertising cliché. Highest quality. Lowest prices. Best service. Friendly staff. Storewide savings. Sale ends soon. For all your (fill in the blank) needs. One stop shop. These are all vague, worn out claims that can’t be quantified without further specifics. I suggest using the more meaningful specifics and losing the empty clichés.
Read It Out Loud
Copy like this looks bad enough on paper, but thanks to my radio background, I’ve had the misfortune of hearing how ridiculous it sounds on the air. It makes me cringe. That’s why it’s always a good idea to read any kind of marketing copy out loud when you’re editing and put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. If it sounds unnecessary, awkward or irrelevant, get rid of it.
If you can’t completely detach yourself as a business owner or employee and objectively analyze your copy like this, get someone to do it for you.
Have you given your marketing copy the “read out loud” test?