Today's thought

Nix the adjectives

A positioning exercise: Remove all adjectives from your website’s main H1 headline, and see what you’re left with. Here’s a generic starting point that could be on any number of studio websites:

“We’re a kind-hearted branding studio, serving up powerfully simple identities for courageous startups in the tech space.”

The logic is solid: You want to attract clients who identify as these cool words and stand out in the market. But, it’s just the opposite that happens... everyone tries to be different by simply changing the adjectives, phrasing, and rhythm. Which sounds EXACTLY like everyone else! For example, juxtapose the adjectives from the previous example with lamer adjectives:

“We’re a nice branding studio, serving up pretty good identities for cool startups in the tech space.”

Pretty weak, right? The “strength” of the adjective is all that holds the statement together. At the end of the day, you’re providing a discipline for a market, and that’s it. Your strength comes from being specific (industry, process, and offer) and clear (common words, services, and deliverables).

It’s not a catch-all—sometimes the adjectives really do add some oomph to the statement—but just try removing ALL adjectives and see what you’re left with. Chances are, it needs to be powered up via specificity and clarity (instead of more adjectives). Being clear is better than sounding impressive any day.

A positioning exercise: Remove all adjectives from your website’s main H1 headline, and see what you’re left with. Here’s a generic starting point that could be on any number of studio websites:

“We’re a kind-hearted branding studio, serving up powerfully simple identities for courageous startups in the tech space.”

The logic is solid: You want to attract clients who identify as these cool words and stand out in the market. But, it’s just the opposite that happens... everyone tries to be different by simply changing the adjectives, phrasing, and rhythm. Which sounds EXACTLY like everyone else! For example, juxtapose the adjectives from the previous example with lamer adjectives:

“We’re a nice branding studio, serving up pretty good identities for cool startups in the tech space.”

Pretty weak, right? The “strength” of the adjective is all that holds the statement together. At the end of the day, you’re providing a discipline for a market, and that’s it. Your strength comes from being specific (industry, process, and offer) and clear (common words, services, and deliverables).

It’s not a catch-all—sometimes the adjectives really do add some oomph to the statement—but just try removing ALL adjectives and see what you’re left with. Chances are, it needs to be powered up via specificity and clarity (instead of more adjectives). Being clear is better than sounding impressive any day.

Hundred Daily™ is a 100-day writing challenge by Aaron Rolston. The goal is to publish 100(ish) words daily & send them out via email. Consider subscribing if you'd like to receive daily broadcasts from me.

Aaron Rolston © 2099

Aaron Rolston © 2099