Not Normal

Let’s lead this copy tip with an example from Storyworthy. Read these two lines:

  • I am dumb, ugly and unpopular.
  • I am not smart, not good-looking and no one likes me.

Which one grabs your attention more?

The second one, right?

It’s a bit unexpected and it puts much more emphasis on the meaning of each part of this sentence.

You can create the same effect for your website copy. Just look at your copy and think of a way to say the opposite isn’t true.

You’ve probably seen these examples:

  • “Not your average” instead of “special”
  • “Not cheap” instead of “expensive”

It gets really interesting when we have a look at some website copy. (It was surprisingly hard to find these examples, though.)

Did you spot it?

“Don’t hate” instead of “love”. Much stronger.

Another one:

I could say free twice but it doesn’t. So many things are free these days that it doesn’t stand out anymore. “No fees” sounds different.

Here’s a third example:

It could have said, “data science should be simple” or something like that. But, I know, that’s boring. Inverting it makes the title much more powerful.

Let’s have some fun now. How would you change this one:

Any ideas what could be changed?

Using the antonym technique, we could write “Not the worst way to review creative assets”

You could say this makes the value proposition weaker. Maybe. But whenever someone says they’re the best, they just don’t know how to differentiate themselves well. It’s lazy positioning. With this change, at least they show some sense of humour while the message remains as clear.

Another one:

What would you change in this one?

I’d go with modern. It’s sooo boring.

But when we replace it with “non-ancient”, it gets interesting, right?

Being a modern firm doesn’t really motivate people. It feels so weak. But no-one wants to be running an ancient firm.

Final one:

Aah, simplified. This one just doesn’t get old. It’s probably one of the most-used words in titles.

But people aren’t really looking to simplify things unless they’re struggling with a very complicated process.

So I’d try a title that goes: “Data protection, but not complicated”

Up to you to have some fun now. I’d love to hear what you come up with. Share it in the comments or tell me on Twitter.

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