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Here's the truth: Your business website's content is more important than ever.

Contrary to predictions, everyone is reading these days. What are they reading? Their phones. Constantly!



I remember those great ads that ran in Omni and The New Yorker, among other places, when I was growing up. They were long on copy and brilliantly written. I devoured them the way I did the editorial works by Isaac Asimov, Ben Bova and George R. R. Martin. They didn't just hawk a product or service. They enlightened and informed. They taught me things:



Advertising and writing were so much better back then. Ads dared to be sophisticated, and they assumed the readers would follow them.




All these brands and many others had their own distinctive voice. You could tell Lexus from BMW. Apple from Microsoft. Chivas from Johnnie Walker. Even McDonalds from Wendy's.


For comparison between then and now, I just opened my Facebook feed and chose the first three ads I came across. Here they are:




I think it's safe to say we are not living in a golden era of writing.

Oh, sure, these are Facebook ads and not ones created by the very best Madison Avenue or West Coast agencies. Yet this is the very sort of work we're being told is better—more effective, more targeted, better-performing—than those old ads of yore. And when you look at today's print ads, they're not much better.





It's not just the writing, though. Creative thinking and strategizing, the very fine art of clever persuasion, which used to inform so much of any business' writing, is dead. When was the last time you saw a clever ad? I'll bet you can remember, but only because it's so rare these days.


We are consuming ad copy (and that's what all "sponsored posts" and "native content" is—ad copy) constantly: when we are standing in line, when we are goofing off at work, when we are goofing off at home. We are immersed in the messages and voices of businesses everywhere. Yet—I dare you—tell me the company that is responsible for this verbiage:



I've covered all the logo information in red so only copy and art are visible. Who's "voice" is this? It's Hilton Hotels. But it could anyone judging by this bland and generic copy.

How sad. What opportunity wasted! Millions of people read your words every day on every device. They carry your words around in their pocket. Your whole company philosophy, your raison d'etre, is everywhere. Yet nowhere, if it sounds like the junk above.


Never become blasé about the power of words. Look at your posts, your feeds, your social, and 86 anything that sounds generic or bland or clichéd. Make your message come alive, the way Steve Jobs did to create the first trillion dollar company. Your business will no longer sound like a business. It will sound like you.


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