Monday, July 11, 2011

From a Marketing Perspective: Stop screaming at me!

With the blogfest last week, and just because I have been searching out new blogs, I have seen many great and wonderful blogs.  I've also seen some that, from a marketing point of view, have something to be desired.  I would guess that most of those bloggers have no idea what their blog "says" about, well, about everything.  So today I am introducing a new series of posts called From a Marketing Perspective (FAMP).

Initially, this Monday series will focus on specific things I see in blogs that are positive or negative, always from a marketing perspective.  Eventually, though, I'd like to offer blog critiques, so polish up your blogs and get ready for a call for submissions.  Let me take this moment to really emphasize one thing: All of my comments are from a marketing perspective and have nothing to do with quality of writing or personal likes and interests.  I don't want hurt feelings about some of my comments, I'm just giving a marketing opinion.  More specifically, my marketing opinion.

First up for discussion: Those wonderful, dreaded exclamation points!!!!

Ok, I love exclamation points as much as the next guy, and I don't care how much you use them in your individual comments or emails or your novel (though, you shouldn't use too many there either) but the general rule for exclamation points in marketing and design is DON'T USE THEM.

I'm not kidding.

Ok, I'm kidding a little, because really I mean use them sparingly. And yes, I was a little tempted to put one on the end of DON'T USE THEM! Because look how good it looks there.  But really, it's not necessary.

So how do you express something very exciting without using that punctuation mark?  Well, that's where font, color, and choice of words come in. Here's an example:
This image tells us Huge Sale! without using any punctuation.

All right, we can't put an image like that in our titles of our blog posts, but you don't need it.  The bold typeface and the fact that the title is above the body of your post already say, "Look at me!" and that's really why you use exclamation points, right? So people will look at your message?

If you have the right marketing message, and the right presentation, you should be able to say what you want to say without them.  Particularly in your titles and slogans.  An occasional ! in the body of your writing, now that's not so bad, but really think about each and every one. Otherwise your reader feels like they are talking to a really hyper cheerleader type. No offense to really hyper cheerleader types, just tone it down when you are presenting. Because that's what blogging really is - presenting.

Another article that has some great points (pun intended) about exclamation, and is rather funny at the same time, can be found here.

Are you an exclamation point abuser? How do you feel when you come across that happy punctuation mark? What do you do to draw attention to your words?


Michelle Fayard said...

Hi, Laura,

After working in print journalism for several years, I had the urge to use exclamation points pretty well beaten out of me. Then I received some feedback that my written communications might seem too businesslike, so I've tried adding a few exclamation points and smiley faces in my e-mails, but I flinch every time, waiting for a senior editor to shout. Ah, it's so true that old habits die hard.

I'm OK with seeing the occasional exclamation point in more informally written pieces, because it can be upbeat, but whenever I find myself having an urge to use one in a book or similar work, I know it's a signal to myself that I need to find a more intense word or phrase instead.

Like potato chips and Oreos, once you start using them, you can end up going overboard. My true punctuation weakness? The em dash, because I'm allergic to parentheses, also courtesy of some very inspiring editors. You can take the girl out of the newsroom, but apparently you can't take the newsroom out of the girl.

By the way, that's a great idea to offer blog critiques from a marketing perspective. I'm at the stage of my marketing plan of researching what topics I'll be blogging about to attract readers as well as writers to my site, asking myself this: What do I know or am I interested in that also interests other?


Laura Barnes said...

I love the em dash too. So hard to get away from those little crutches. Good luck in discovering your blog direction. I'm eager to see what you do! (Yes, I will always use ! in my comments. You can't take that away from me, dang it!!!)

Jessie Humphries said...

I'm glad u said its ok in comments...I'm a Culprit .

Theenchantedwriter said...

Busted.... I am an exclamation point addict.. gonna have to pay attention to that now. Thanks :)

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