By Valerie Kendrick, President of Kendrick Resources LLC
Since I am a hard core stickler for correct grammar in writing, I am surprised I am now going to tell you about five grammar rules you can and should break when writing your marketing materials.
Here are the rules you can break:
1. Never use sentence fragments.
2. Don’t start a sentence with “and.”
3. Avoid using slang expressions.
4. Don’t end your sentences with a preposition.
5. Avoid using negatives such as “but.”
As I have written many times before, it is so important to write in a very conversational tone. And when we’re talking to someone, don’t we usually talk in fragments. Make sure they “get it.” Are you clear on what I’m talking about? Does any of this make sense to you? But wait, what effect does this have on my audience?
You probably noticed that I tried to break all those rules in the last paragraph. Did I lose you anywhere in the conversation? Were you clear on my intent? Did you feel like I was talking directly to you? Great! That’s the idea.
Now let’s talk about the advantages to breaking these rules for our marketing materials.
First, sentence fragments cause a break in the conversation and can help us put more emphasis on a particular point.
Example: The latest in productivity advancements.
This is a sentence fragment; however, when used in context of my product description it stands out and helps make the point.
Second, starting a sentence with “and” gives the reader the impression there is more to come. It makes them feel like you are offering more and more.
Example: And if you order today you will also receive a free pamphlet.
Wow! They keep reading to see what else they will get in this deal.
The third rule, avoid using slang, should be broken with caution. As the writer, you must be sure you are using the slang correctly, and it is appropriate for your audience.
For example, if you are reaching out to clients who may be interested in personal fitness training it would be appropriate to use words such as ripped and pumped. It will give your audience the sense that you are all in the same group. They can relate to you.
With the fourth rule, just make sure you have used an appropriate format for ending with a preposition.
For example “Where are you going to?” should really be written as “Where are you going?” The sentences, “What are you waiting for? Take advantage of our offer now!” serve their purpose to grab the reader’s attention and encourage them to act.
Our final rule to break, using the negative word but, is a very powerful tool when used to place all the emphasis on whatever words follow the “but.” When we hear the word “but” we automatically disregard anything that came before.
Example: We know you have options when buying a new car, but we are glad you decided to choose XYZ Car Dealers. Basically, we told our buyers they didn’t have any choice except for our company.
So choose your words wisely, watch your grammar structure, and break a few rules to strengthen your next marketing message!
—Source: Valerie Kendrick is the President of Kendrick Resources LLC, specializing in communications skills training. She has been called the “Grammar Guru” because of her passion to help the business person communicate more effectively. Valerie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 303-552-7349.