Tag Archives: your copy sucks

Your Copy Sucks: Ode to the Op-Ed

portrait of a mid adult man with his thumb on his lips

As PR professionals, we often deal with placing a client’s op-ed with what we hope will be a reputable, widely read publication or platform. However, as anyone who reads small-town newspapers for fun and schadenfreude knows, many op-eds are pretty much unreadable. One can only assume they’ve been printed because there wasn’t any news about angry, window-smashing McDonald’s customers that week.

While I was back in my hometown for winter break, I came across an op-ed that must be shared here with some (I hope) small suggestions for improvements so that you and your clients can see what makes a good op-ed and what makes a bad op-ed.
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Your Copy Sucks: A New Year’s Resolution

Woman Uncorking Champagne BottleAs we enter a new decade, let’s all make a pact right here, right now. Let’s stop saying “two thousand” when we say the year.

Guys, it’s 2010. That’s “twenty ten.” We’ve gotten away with saying “two thousand blah blah” for far too long. It’s ridiculous. No one at the turn of the last century was saying, “Oh dear me, I cannot wait for nineteen thousand oh-one!” By rights, we should have been saying “twenty oh-five” or whatever, but because the new millennium was such a big deal, I let it slide.

But no longer. Continue reading

Your Copy Sucks: Fancy Language

Normally, any attempt to stifle what little creativity we have in this business makes my skin crawl. Really takes the cake. Gives me the pip. But in this instance, I have to put my foot down.

Three old books, studio shot

Guys. Stop using figures of speech in your business writing. If I had a nickel for every time someone mucked up some folksy sayings, well, I’d have a bird in hand, which I’m told is worth two in the flora.

Okay, I’ll put the stupid jokes on the back burner now. My point is, writing pitches and press releases is hard enough without figures of speech ruining everything. Two reasons: colloquialisms are easily misused, and easily misunderstood. Continue reading

Your Copy Sucks: We Can’t Click That, Yo

Cup of coffeeInstead of my usual harsh judgment (my hammer of knowledge, if you will), this week I bring you a question. It’s an issue on which I’ve been waffling for some time.

Backstory: Remember a few weeks ago, when Starbucks released their new instant coffee? Well, now Nestle’s Taster’s Choice would like to remind you that they’ve been making instant coffee way before that young Turk ever came into the java-slinging world. Here in New York, and in several other cities, Nestle street teams have been handing out little envelopes filled with all sorts of Taster’s Choice instant coffee packets. Copy on these envelopes calls out the Starbucks instant brand as a lot of needless hype.
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Your Copy Sucks: NaNoWriMo

Final_nano_logo_with_text_TransparentIt’s November, which means NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

NaNoWriMo can also be called “the month where all your wordy friends disappear from the planet.”

If you’ve never heard of it, here’s the scoop: for the month of November, participants sign up for the NaNo challenge. Their goal is to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. Some quick math reveals that this means writing a little under 2,000 words a day on average, and that doesn’t sound very difficult. Continue reading

Your Copy Sucks: You Don’t Even Know What “Edit” Means

type writer keyPlease consider this a gentle nudge in the direction of proper usage. I am not angry with you, dear thing. Almost everyone makes the same mistake time and time again. But for your elucidation:

Editing is not the same thing as copyediting.

When you talk about making sure all the commas are in the right place? That’s copyediting. When you think about taking a red pen to a piece of writing? You’re probably thinking of copyediting. It’s something wholly different than editing-editing, and you should probably know the difference.

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