Keeping the art of pursuasive writing alive.
Well, it's that time of year again, when writers young and old turn their hand to persuasive writing. Of course some people are using this skill everyday. SEO content and copywriters spend hours writing to persuade website visitors to become new and loyal customers. Some are incredibly good at it, others are particularly shoddy. However, at least there are people writing with gusto and enthusiasm. Sadly, for the rest of society, who never have to write a letter or memo, this enthusiasm for writing is often absent.
Children sit in classrooms trying to avoid writing at all costs; it is surprising how many trips to the loo, or times you need to sharpen a pencil, can occur in half an hour. But this reluctance to write seems to be forgotten about when they hear the words, " time to write your letter to Santa". Then it would seem there are no holds barred. Out come the gel pens and illustrations. Some young writers put the early monastic illumated manuscripts to shame with the amount of 'bling' they manage to cram on the page. This is good and encouraging as a writer to see. This shows that people know the potential impact their prose ( or early attempts at marketing) can have on the intended audience. For some, this skill remains with into adulthood.
This is something a friend of mine recently posted as a letter to Santa on her facebook page. This is a perfect example of how the childhood protocol of writing to Santa remains in our psyche well into adulthood.
As a piece of persuasive writing, which is exactly what SEO copywriting is, this ticks all the boxes;
These are important criteria for writing persuasive copy.There is no ambiguity as to the purpose of this writing. I have no doubt the elves are onto this request as I write.
A letter to Santa may be the only writing some kids do for pleasure, which in itself is a shame. However, a letter to Santa is a fantastic early steeping stone to writing persuasively. It becomes an instinct to understand the writing template necessary to acheive satisfaction from the intented audience. As writers mature, this skill can be finely tuned to empower the writer to become a master, or mistress, of persuasion.
Poor grammar, portmanteau or just evolution?
This is just something I can't get my head round. When you search on-line (or should that be online or on line?) there is just no consistency in how words seem to be formed. I find this an awkward position to be in as a Copywriter / Copy Writer. You see in theory, copywriter should be two words, copy and writer. Let me explain. A writer of fiction is a fiction writer, a writer of crime stories is a crime writer, a person that teaches in a school is a school teacher. Then the waters get muddied by other occupations such as hairdresser, bricklayer and barmaid. All of these occupations were once separate words. So shouldn't a writer of copy be a Copy Writer?
There is a definite split in the on-line community. This is a nightmare for the purposes of SEO content and copywriting / copy writing; by using different conventions you are faced with how to ensure both versions get picked up by the search engines. If you use both versions in one text it becomes confusing for the reader as the piece lacks consistency and quality, if you only use one version you are potentially missing out on all the potential clients who are searching for the other version. How has this happened?
I think there are three possible reasons for this;
Facebook on the button with 'sympathise' option.
I read with interest this week about the possibility of having a sympathise button on Facebook. The idea was discussed at a 'Facebook Hackathon'. A 'hackathon' is where software designers,graphic designers, computer programmers and interface designers get together to discuss new ideas. The new 'sympathy' button would enable friends and followers to show their 'sympathy' to someone if they had updated their status from a fixed list of emotions. This list is already in existence of course, I just love hearing how; brave, sad, ill, happy, exhausted, etc, etc, my facebook friends are. The only option at present is that you like the status to show an acknowledgement that you have read it, and care enough to press 'like'. I assume this action makes your sad, ill but happy and exhausted friends feel instantly better? The other option some people choose is to leave a comment saying, "unlike", this I feel, is just a lame cop out. The new proposal means that if you choose certain emotions and 'conditions' from the list in your status update, the 'like' button will be transformed into a 'sympathy' button.
I love the idea, how fantastic to be able to save yourself having to show true emotion to people you may never have actually met. In this world of internet communication, I'm not sure all people know how to interact effectively with face to face encounters anyway, so this could completely remove all those socially awkward moments.
The part of the idea I don't like is that the 'sympathy' button would only be available on certain emotions. I think it would be much more fun if you could offer your sympathy to someone when they announce their new relationship status with someone you really know they shouldn't be with. Or perhaps when your news feed is filled with status updates and pictures of what can only be described as the ugliest cabbage-patch-like baby you have ever seen. I would have hours of fun with that. (Although there may be an increase in those socially awkward moments should you ever see that person in real life? )
The thing that is slightly concerning though is why people would want to put things on Facebook, or any social networking site, that required sincere sympathy. Surely if you had lost your job, lost a loved one, had a terrible incurable medical condition or simply had a really ugly kid, you would save how you felt for those face to face interactions with people that genuinely care. I always think that if 'friends' hear about your personal triumphs and failures first on Facebook then they are not the type of true 'friends' to be sharing your intimate business with in the first place.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you view it, this is all highly academic at this point anyway as a spokesperson from 'Facebook' was quoted in the LA times earlier this week as saying, "Facebook holds hackathons all the time and countless features get created at these events, and a few of them get added to the company's website and apps.... but most of the features invented at Facebook hackathons don't ever make it to the final product."
Let us know your view.