About 10 years ago, I taught a business writing course at a local university. One of my goals was to get students to write conversationally, as opposed to writing like a corporate hack.
At The Hired Pens, we’ve long preached the virtues of writing conversationally — that is, writing like you speak. Among other things, that means avoiding words like “synergize,” “revolutionary” or “productize.” After all, how often do you actually use words like that when talking with someone?
To illustrate my point, I directed students to the Web Economy Bullshit Generator. It’s a simple page that features three columns of BS words (verbs, adjectives, nouns) and a button that invites you to make BS phrases of your own. A gem of an idea.
Fast-forward to February 2012. Within several days, I started two new projects with technology firms. Each gave me a simple directive: Make our website copy more human.
These clients don’t want me to use words that might end up in the BS Generator. They don’t want the copy to be overly stiff and formal. They don’t want me to construct sentences that contain four or five ideas and drag on for 50-60 words.
Yes, they want copy that is human. Which is refreshing for a copywriter like me. And maybe even a good sign for where the world of technology marketing is headed.