Marketing Copy Turns "Sticks And Stones" On Its Ear - Deliberate Ink

Sticks & StonesSamantha Gluck is a Texas-based copywriter I met some time ago on Twitter–and glad I did. I’m impressed with her bold style and energy. Her post today is the perfect reminder about how the DIY spirit can be harmful to businesses when it comes to marketing.  

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

So goes the mantra chanted by elementary-aged children everywhere, when targeted by the cruel words and strong-arm tactics of school bullies. Does the sentiment of this mantra hold true in your world–the world of a businessperson hoping to engage meaningfully with a fickle and highly mobile target market?


Words can absolutely crush your business. Even one instance of poorly crafted copy associated with your unique products and services can have a profound negative impact on your brand and public perception of the business itself.

“But I’m a Hands-On Business Owner”

As an entrepreneur, your executive role requires that you devote time and energy to multiple aspects of your business–aspects that have little or nothing to do with collateral content or ad copy content. You may not know what actually makes the difference between copywriting that sells and copywriting that fails.


It’s not what you think.

Provocative Copywriting Sells, MBA-Speak Fails

Congratulations on your MBA. While it will prove quite useful when approaching angel investors and other funding sources for capital needs, it takes great copywriting skills to know the difference between provocative and antagonizing headlines and subheads. And the copy that follows must paint a picture for the reader; it must carry them to a world in which they envision themselves purchasing and benefitting from your product or service.

Your potential customers are pros at spotting sensational copy filled with hyperbole. They know, consciously or unconsciously, when the wording and call to action is attempting to create a false sense of urgency within them. And they do not respond well to what they perceive as dishonesty.

Tone: Fueling the Power of Words

A skilled copywriter addresses the reader using a voice and tone your reader relates to comfortably. Copywriters know just how and when to change tone and voice to match a particular reader group or demographic. If you don’t adjust your tone when speaking to match the character of the varied and diverse groups you engage, you’ll lose their attention–and their engagement–early on.

Copy that sells rather than fails uses a tone and a voice your readers will understand and appreciate. The required change in tone of the written word is often barely perceptible; experienced, successful copywriters can easily discern the level and character of the necessary changes. Getting it right makes the difference between the sell and the fail.

Constant Companions to Success

The DIY attitude is common to many high energy, high ambition, high achieving entrepreneurs. And it works for a while, in the beginning. But as your company grows, things will begin to fall through the cracks and your business will suffer.

So stick to your true role as an entrepreneur. Use your natural and experientially earned talents within the scope of your executive position to bring your business to the tipping point. Then don’t hesitate to collaborate with others who have proven skill and authority where you’re lacking. Because no matter how high-powered your marketing strategy, if you put out a poorly written message, you’ve wasted your money.

And words, badly written, will hurt your business.

Samantha Gluck is a freelance journalist, experienced copywriter, and business owner. She specializes in writing for the health care and small business industries. With feature stories in prestigious publications across the US, such as the Houston Chronicle and Hartford Courant, Gluck’s reputation for excellence and professionalism continues to grow. Check out Freelance Writing Dreams and Medtopicwriter – The Bleeding Edge to read more of her work and to learn about her amazing editorial team.

Photo credit: Corey Denis, courtesy of Flickr, CC 2.0.

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