One of the principle reasons I enjoy marketing so much is my love for copywriting. I simply love to write. Now, I may not be a grammar expert, but I can find my way from one end of a sentence to the other – most of the time. If I find myself in a grammatical corner, I turn to a couple of guides that have served me well.
One is a book by Patricia O’Conner called Woe Is I. The other is The Associated Press Stylebook. Both are good for things like…using Calif. as the abbreviation for California, not the familiar postal code CA.; and using lower case for a person’s title when it comes after their name, like Bob Johnson, president of ABC Company. When you’re writing copy for something where accuracy is critical, like a press release, things like this are extremely important. For copy in ads or other marketing collateral, you have a little more wiggle room.
As you can tell, my style is more “conversational” which means I write like I am speaking to the person. I try to avoid using big words since they don’t sound natural, but I do like to use humor whenever the mood strikes.
The challenge for copywriters is to say what you need to say in the fewest words possible. Whether it’s 140 words or 140 characters, learning how to be brief and understood at the same time can be difficult. It’s like the old story of Mark Twain who wrote a 4-page letter to someone and ended it with “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
This blog, for example, should have been shorter, but I didn’t have enough time.