Better Blurbs Are More Persuasive
by Marcia Yudkin
Consider this testimonial for
a program designed to get one started in a home
"Prior to learning
about CBSI, I was disabled and unemployed with
back problems. I now have people helping me
and I expect my income to double." - M.B.
This blurb contains a kernel
of persuasiveness but badly needs a makeover.
Here are three problems with it:
- The phrase "now have people helping
me" could mean either "now have
people taking care of me because of my back
problem" or "now have people
voluntarily helping me run my
business," neither of which attests to
the power of the CBSI program.
- "I expect my income to double"
is extremely weak. Many people expect their
income to double from year to year. Does it
actually do so?
- Even though the company says they have the
original testimonial on file, the
attribution to "M.B." appears
flimsy. Many readers won't believe that
When you receive an
unsolicited testimonial that isn't worded well,
set up a brief conversation with the customer to
clarify the facts and get permission for a
revision. The following version of the above
blurb, for instance, would give CBSI a greater
"Prior to working with
CBSI, I was disabled and unemployed with back
problems. My husband and I now employ three
people in a business that grosses $22,000 a
month." - Marilyn Baxter, Lincoln Falls,
With Powerful, Easy-to-Apply Guidelines
Learn how to get your point across in
one page or how to satisfy a strict word
count for magazine or newsletter
editors. Find out how to identify and
cut repetition, eliminate excess
verbiage, make your point fast and
convey a wealth of facts in a small
space. My longwinded clients asked for
this! Become more
Use these guidelines for
editing blurbs so that they sing your praises
loud and clear.
- Make it brief. When customer
comments go on for more than three
sentences, select the strongest portion and
cut the rest. You want nuggets, not blobs of
- Make it positive. If the client
wrote, "This was not a waste of time
and money," ask if you can reword it to
"This was a smart investment."
- Make it specific. General
adjectives like "wonderful" or
"most beneficial" can't hold a
candle to a precise, explicit description of
what the product or service did for your
Learn to Write
Six-week self-study course teaches
you to wow people into buying through
the power of well-chosen words.
Includes challenging and varied
assignments to practice on, with answers
from the instructor and participants.
Replace incomprehensible jargon with
reader-friendly, motivating content.
- Make it clear. Often people leave
out of blurbs the background that you know
and they know but that strangers need to
know to understand a comment. Other times
the intended meaning needs to be
disentangled from twisted phrasing.
- Attribute it. The most convincing
quotes include the praiser's name, position
and city and state. If there's some
understandable reason the person prefers to
remain unnamed, provide as much information
about the writer (occupation, home town) as
When collecting testimonials
for a Web page or brochure, pay attention to the
overall diversity of the quotes. If all the
blurbs come from attorneys, readers will assume
your clients are primarily lawyers. If most
focus on one of the five services you provide,
readers may think that accounts for a
disproportionate share of your work. And make
sure all the quotes don't come from men or from
women if you serve a mixed clientele. Specific
praise from named people with different things
to say can be strong marketing ammunition
Copyright 2001 Marcia Yudkin.
All rights reserved.
Marcia Yudkin to write or rewrite sales letters,
brochures, web sites, flyers, press releases or
other marketing materials.
to become a well-paid copywriter/marketing
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