What’s in a Word

When I write copy that is incorporated into a brochure design, website design, newsletter, direct mail piece, trade show display, or even when I create a script for a corporate video or voice over for a medical animation, I try to first think about the organization I am to represent, the product or service, and the target audience, and then develop the linguistic strategy that captures people’s interest at initial glance.

To promote an active response from the target audience, I might use strong verbs that convey the right “call-to-action” message. To encourage readers to reflect on what is being presented, I might ask questions that appeal to their wants and needs. To improve their memory retention, I might play on well-recognized words, phrases, sayings, idioms, and expressions that have evolved over time through regional dialect and colloquial vocabulary.

“Discover!” “What?” “Keep tabs on…” Each of these “strategies” works to the benefit of selling the given product or service. Words and they way in which they are used have an impact that can be negative or positive, subtle or obvious.