During a previous post we began a study of the Dullest Blog In The World, using the dull copy as an example of what not to do when writing for the web. We continue with the 3rd and final element of dull copy.
Dull Element #3 - Colorless Verbs and Nouns
Let's take a look at a post from November 14, 2003...
Tying my shoelace The lace on one of my shoes was undone. I knelt down, took the two ends of the lace in my hand and tied them together. Having tied my lace I stood up again.
Not a trace of anything with color or personality here. Several verbs here, several nouns and not a single one adds life or association to the post. A quick rewrite will show you how to add a little life to a dull topic with just a sprinkle of unpredictability.
Untied shoelaces The lace on my shoe was unlooped. Kneeling down, I grasped the ends of each lace in my hands and twisted, tied, and tightened them. Mission accomplished, I stood.
This rewrite is a little better but no work of art, you must understand that even the best writing won't help when your content is weak and irrelevant. What I am hoping to demonstrate is how using less preditible verbs and nouns in your copy can make a difference. Even the most 'professional' of products and services can be made to sound colorful, powerful and trustworthy using unpredictable verbs and nouns that bring associative meaning to your copy.
You will notice that I did not mention anything about colorful adjectives. Overused and flowery adjectives are the favored tools of an amateur.
Let's take a gander at a great before and after example
Before Powered by the Volvo D4D high performance, low emission engine, this all-rounder provides high rimpull, excellent penetration and fast acceleration in whatever you do. With its superb low rpm performance, the Volvo engine responds immediately to the operator’s commands, making your operation more productive.
The Volvo high performance, low emission engine generates high torque at low rpm, for quick response and low exhaust emissions that meet existing requirements including EPA Tier 2.
After It’s our job to help you do yours – no matter how big. And the full line of Volvo Wheel Loaders is always up to the task. Whether you move rock, earth, timber, sand or snow, a wide range of Volvo Wheel Loaders and attachment options are available to help you conquer the elements.
Dig deeper in this section to find the perfect Volvo Wheel Loader for your operation. You’ll get all the information you need to make the right decision – including financing options, full product specifications, competitive comparisons and you can also find out how to take a local demo.
Climb into the cab of a Volvo Wheel Loader and get to work. Along with unmatched production and power, Volvo Wheel Loaders help you move it - with ease, speed, cost-efficiency and comfort.
Another example of un-dull copy is the X-Arcade 2-Player, notice how the lifetime warranty section, a topic usually written in legal speak, is infused with life and attitude.
And lastly, Librarians may seem dull to some, but well written copy can make them action heroes.