Every writer has pet peeves that make him or her cringe. I actually have two.
The first one is “I want to thank…” It must just be me, because I see it and hear it all the time. Every time I do, my instant reaction is “Well, then why don’t you do it if you want to?”
The other word, however, I believe is simply the sign of a lazy writer. It marks someone who can’t be bothered to tell the whole story. It’s also generally an untruth.
What is the word? “Needs.”
Everywhere you look you can find ads that say “Call on us for all your (whatever) needs.”
Why can’t the writer take time to tell what the business or person actually has to offer? Especially since no one business or person can take care of all of anyone’s “needs.”
If I wrote an ad that said “I’ll take care of all your copywriting needs,” I would be offering a false statement. For instance, if someone called on me to write a newsletter about the stock market, I’d say no. Ditto for a technical manual about an electronics product – or about how to do coding on the Internet. And, there are some subjects I wouldn’t write about for any amount of money.
When a Realtor says “Call me for all your real estate needs,” that’s probably false as well. Some agents handle residential real estate and some are experts at commercial and business transactions. Some sell farm and ranch land while others wouldn’t have a clue about how to do it.
Even if someone can handle almost anything that comes up, it’s more effective to spell it out and let those potential customers see what he or she has to offer. Why make them guess, especially since the “needs” word is so often ill-used?
For instance, a residential plumber may be available to plumb an entire house from start to finish, or to make repairs – or both. He or she may or may not be available for emergency service in the middle of the night.
A graphic designer may specialize in creating posters or book jackets or headers for web pages – but also be willing to design your business card or the logo for your letterhead.
We’re all busy today, and often in a hurry. So when we go in search of someone to do a job for us, we’re more apt to at least begin the search with someone who says they do what we want done. Not someone who will simply take care of all of our “needs.”
If you offer many services, it can be a trick to convey all you offer in the space of a business card or a small ad. But work at it. Use your creativity to at least categorize your offerings. And if you have space in an ad, at least mention the tasks you most enjoy performing.
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