Is it just me or is anybody else alarmed by the amount of violence in web copywriting nowadays?
Just look at the headlines of sales pages.
You'd think everyone was out to become a “ninja” at every desirable skill, “kick b**t” in their field, and “annihilate” or “crush” every one who gets in their way.
Is that really how you see yourself?
Is that how our readers see themselves?
In a world where teens are killing each other and themselves because of bullying, where armed men are shooting at or plowing their vehicles over crowds, where people blow up other people and themselves in the name of their beliefs, I call on my fellow copywriters to stop using violent language.
Obviously the saying “sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me” is simply untrue.
Words can and do hurt.
Not only that, words evoke feelings, affect our self-esteem, and shape our behavior.
I can't argue with that. Violence, oddly enough, is gratifying. Just look at the blockbuster movies. Most of them are violent.
And, hey, I myself enjoy watching CSI and Bones.
But here's the thing: violence is not the only thing that sells.
I suggest we look at other aspects of humanity that resonate with our readers. Let's look at other areas as inspiration for our metaphors and imagery, such as:
I'm not big on sports, but many people are! Sports provide plenty of language we can use to represent winning and success. A few examples:
Let's not forget that most of our readers are probably deeply spiritual people. While you may not want to use words that are specific to one religion (unless you are writing for members of that religion), you can draw on other aspects of spirituality in your copy. Spiritual words include:
Women as well as men are longing for intimate connection, so romantic language could very well help sell your products/services. Romantic language includes words like:
The bottom line is this: It IS possible to use non-violent copy and still sell.
In fact, I dare say that in certain markets and products, this non-violent language is more appropriate and effective.
The problem is, we need to look farther and work harder to find alternative language. One that our readers can connect with.
Are copywriters willing to go the extra mile to discover and use that language? I hope so. Let's do it! Our survival could depend on it.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Am I over-reacting? Are there other sources of non-violent language that we can look at?
I'd love to read your comments below.
Image by raymaclean
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
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