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Judith Halliday

It's only words

And words are all I have ...

Posted on: 01/09/2011   By: Judith Halliday

The Bee Gees put it so tunefully well. And do you know what? I think they're right! Words are pretty much all we have. We can put them together and call them texts, blogs, status updates, letters, mail shots, books and marketing material, but when all's said and done they're just words - used well or used badly.

from a manuscript to a text, it's all words

from a manuscript to a text, it's all words

Words are one of the most powerful marketing tools you have at your disposal. Words can convey a single meaning or inspire a million thoughts, they can sum something up succinctly, or else they can take us the long way round - thousands of them, carefully chosen to offer pleasure and relaxation, if only we all had time to read it all.

Words can hold immense power but, sadly, their strength is also their downfall - their sheer accessibility. We all know how to use words. A child of two will know about 200 words, and by the time they're six that figure will have risen to around 10,000 - far more than are used in this article.

We are surrounded by words; we speak them, we hear them, we type them, we read them. BUT - and it's a big BUT - do we know how to use them properly?

You've read this far - that's a good sign. How often have you failed to get this far through a piece of writing - a newspaper report, a press release, a website home page, a blog? Look at it another way. How many times have your customers, or, more importantly, your potential customers, failed to get through your press release, your website home page, your blog? Because if that is happening, then your marketing message isn't happening.

Most of us can write - there's a fair old chance we wouldn't be running a business or holding down a decent job if we couldn't - but can we all write well? Can you write with passion, can you adeptly capture what you want to say, can you put together a couple of hundred well-chosen words that deliver what you want to say to whom you want to say it?

Words are my passion - they really are what does it for me. I can take or leave music (well, apart from the Bee Gees, they really did speak a lot of sense), and I like a bit of visual art - film, paintings, sculpture, photography, architecture - but there's nothing quite like a well-crafted sentence, a quote that makes you laugh out loud or a message that moves you to tears.

In a new series of blogs, I'm going to be looking at how words can be used well - and probably how they can be used badly - a few well-crafted sentences, maybe one or two that will make you laugh and hopefully, not many that will bring a tear to the eye.

Can I help you? Just say the word....

Until next time ...


More about Judith Halliday ...

My writing career began under the bright lights of Gateshead in 1986 - who wouldn't love a job that offered the chance to listen to Gateshead Borough Council's Public Waste Committee debate the introduction of wheelie bins for three hours? It was the start of a working life that taught me what makes a good story and how to tell it and, although I don't have a news editor lurking ready to throw things at me any more, or so much of an interest in wheelie bins, my love of writing and a fascination with talking to people and telling their stories is as strong as ever.

Today I work for Business Times in Northampton and the Northants Evening Telegraph as well as providing copywriting services and press releases for a number of local companies.

When I'm not doing that, I indulge in the things I love most, which include, in no particular order: my teenage children, Sunderland football club, my husband, chocolate, QI, Chinese noodles, my closest friends, Test Match Special, red wine, reading in bed, The Sound of Music and growing vegetables.


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