don't use playground taunts in your copy


Why is it, when growing up, someone always has something bigger and better than you?

Their toy is better, they’ve seen the latest age 18 release at the cinema (which, considering the fact you’re only 12 they obviously haven’t), and they went abroad on holiday while you went to Skegness.

Not much fun is it?

Looking back on those days, I realise how juvenile those arguments were. Funny then how I keep saying similar taunts in the marketing of some companies.

Mine’s bigger than yours

The idea of marketing your business is to show your customers how you’re going to make their life easier.

Telling them how much better you are than your competitors, naming and shaming companies, and calling out rival service providers and trashing their offerings is very poor form.

Rather than showing you in a glowing light it sends out the message that your service is pretty crap and the only way you can make it sound better is to belittle your opponents.

Shame, because done well, your copy and your sales case could be powerful.

Blank out the competition

The first step is to put a pair of blinkers on and think only about your business.

  • Who are your customers?
  • What problem do they have?
  • How does your solution solve that and make their life easier?
  • What unique propositions do you offer?

By answering those questions you will discover the language to use, the approach to use, and the main benefits to highlight.

Stick to what your customers want and what you can offer and leave it there.

Other things to avoid

Now I’ve got you concentrating on your customers and your business, here are few other things you should avoid writing at all costs.

  • Any jargon that’s related to your business
  • Marketing-speak that’s utterly meaningless (blue sky thinking, going forward etc.)
  • Empty phrases (market leader, innovative, ground-breaking, cutting-edge) unless you can back it up with hard facts
  • Excessive use of ‘we’ (write in the second person, so you’re addressing your reader directly)

It should also go without saying that all your copy should be checked double-checked and triple checked for typos and grammatical errors.

Forget the playground taunts about what everyone else is doing and create original marketing that’s written to respond to the specific needs of your target audience.


After surviving the playground bullies, Sally Ormond became an international copywriter – beat that bullies!