A new form of “conversational” copy?

in Copywriting - Nonprofit,News

I often write about how your direct mail letters, emails, web copy, etc. need to be conversational.  Use casual, everyday words.  Have a relaxed, warm and personal tone.  So when I came across the news from the New Oxford Dictionary I decided to have a bit of fun.

I want to help you loosen up your writing.  Consider this a fun exercise to move you one step closer to writing conversational copy.  (By the way, please take a minute to read the disclaimer at the end of this post.)

The New Oxford American Dictionary (Third Edition) is published.  And they’ve added 2,000 pretty crazy words, phrases, new meanings, and abbreviations.  They share some of the additions on their blog such as BFF (Hmm, an acronym is now considered a word. Yikes.), defriend, eggcorn, homesourcing, LBD, parkour, TTYL and on it goes.

If you’re a strict grammarian this stuff must drive you nuts.  I’m not keen on all of it myself.  But I decided to have a bit of fun with this new language and invite you to join in.

Wacky Language Contest

Wacky Language Contest:  Write a 3 – 4 sentence paragraph using the new language.  Choose from the sampling on the Oxford blog and feel free to add in others you know.  Write the wacky paragraph and then also give us a brief translation.  Winner (must be an employee of a charity or professional association to receive the prize) receives a complimentary copy of my ZAPP GUIDE to Thank You Letters.

Although I welcome entries from everyone, only an employee of a nonprofit is eligible to receive the prizeI ask nonprofits to please use their business/organization email (which is kept confidential and safe) along with their organization’s URL when submitting their entry in the comment box below.  This helps me confirm your eligibility for the prize as an employee of a nonprofit.

I’m the judge and it’s purely subjective.  The winner will be the paragraph that strikes me as the most humorous, or most creative, wittiest, etc.  Deadline to enter is Friday, October 1, 2010.  The winner will be announced here in the blog, and I’ll send you an email as well. 

 And your entry can be on a topic related to work, or something else. (I do moderate comments so you won’t see it published on my blog until I’ve read and approved it.  This precaution keeps a LOT of spam off my blog every week.)

Let’s have fun with this.  Submit your entry by commenting to this blog post. 

As an example, here’s my stab at it:

Don’t defriend donors with straightedge copy that sounds inhuman.  Instead channel their feelings and thoughts about your charity.  Using their own words is a great way to chat with gal pals and other supporters.  Just be careful though.  Because misquoting a donor in your fundraising campaigns is akin to a public wardrobe malfunction.  It’s your bad.  But do it well and your boss may reward you with a longer staycation.  TTLY!

Now go ahead and share your Wacky paragraph with us.  Use the comment feature below.  Have fun! 

And whether you enter the contest or not, what do you think of the additions the lexicographers have made to the dictionary?  Should acronyms (e.g., LBD) be considered words and defined as such in a dictionary?

Disclaimer: This exercise is meant to be fun.  I’m not suggesting that your letters and emails to donors or members be written the same as your contest entry.  It was just a wacky way to get you a bit closer to a more relaxed, informal style.   Having said that, there may be times when it is appropriate to use some of these words and phrases, especially in social media.