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?