Here's one radical copywriting idea that will save you at least $2K

And it’s not spellcheck.

And it’s not spellcheck.

Shooting video makes you listen differently. 

It was 2011. My new job had me shooting + editing video interviews--something I'd never done before.

My job was downtown. Sometimes it was LOUD out there, even though we were 6 floors up. I learned pretty quickly to listen for background noise that could screw up the audio.

During every single interview, I'd have to ask the interviewee to stop because I heard, from the edges of the city, the faintest wail of an ambulance siren, or a fire time it was a jackhammer.

So I listened for background noise. Turns out there was a lot more I would learn to listen for.  

Because one happened.

(Imagine me with a flashlight under my chin.)

I was filming a Very Important Person when they said,

“Everyone deserves a full and fulsome education...”

Me, on the inside?

Not judging…just

He was Too Important--vis-à-vis my own lowly status--to correct. 

The problem word? Fulsome.

It means “offensive to good taste.” 

However, this is a word that has drifted back and forth between meaning “abundant” and “offensive” for more than 800 years.

So there are some modern uses of fulsome where it means "abundant." How's that for confusing?

Given the gravity of the subject matter and how important the organization’s reputation was not a word to take a chance with.

I tried to fix it in post but no dice.

(Lesson learned: Make people speak much, much slower. Interrupt them! Etc. AND DON'T LET THEM WEAR GREEN SHIRTS.)

After all that, we didn’t get to use the video...which I estimate cost about $2K.  

So how is a regular person (non-copywriter) supposed to know they’ve been using a word wrong?

They do what I do--look it up in the dictionary.

“But Jenn, if I KNEW I was using a word wrong, I wouldn’t have a problem!”

Yes, I know. 

So this is the radical idea for your copy: look up the words anyway--even if you think you know what they mean.

Because: Are you sure?

Are you so sure, you'd run your copy on the front page of the proverbial New York Times, right now?

You can start small. Start by looking up adjectives and idioms (you know, “let the cat out of the bag” etc).

Then verbs. Then nouns.

Because you know what’s worse than losing $2K?

Looking foolish in front of your clients and competitors.

Ignorant, even.

The hit to your reputation could be $$$$$$$ and more.

If you’d signed up for my email newsletter, you would have gotten a super-secret offer by now

Jenn Whinnem