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R E S P E C T for A B C

I think we should show some appreciation for each letter of the alphabet.

Those 26 individual letters work together to create every word known to man. So please show them a little respect. Think carefully who you are pairing them with and what words you are using them to create.

It’s very easy to not use them to their full potential and create incredibly dry, dull copy. However, more recently I’ve noticed some marketers are guilty of getting a bit too carried away with them. I’ve seen some toe-curlingly awkward extended metaphors that make the reader laugh at the writer instead of with them.

The key to writing good copy is similar to looking good at a party. Don’t try too hard. Nobody likes the person who is desperately trying to be funny, witty or loud. Just be natural. But what if you’re not a natural writer? That’s fine, there aren’t many people who are. It can be learnt but it requires a bit of effort from you. Unfortunately your parents were right when they insisted practice makes perfect. To develop this skill you have to keep doing it; keep drafting those email communications, work up the copy for the DM, don’t just pass it on to someone else.

You’re also going to have to brave the world of feedback. Show someone your work and don’t sulk when they return it with your ‘witty’ opening deleted. I know how it feels, but what your colleagues have really done is save you from inflicting another misjudged sentence on the world.

For a little extra homework, pick up On Writing Well by William Zinsser for your commute. It’s an easy read and has been doing the rounds for over 30 years (it’s been updated since it was first published). It’s for absolutely everyone who needs to do any writing, I’ve got a copy and I leant it to my partner who is a graphic designer and it’s helped both of us. So please R E S P E C T your A B Cs.