Yep! I truly am a word nerd. As a cross-channel marketing writer, I know every word counts. Word choices can make or break the response by which I'm measured.
For example, direct response writers have long understood the power of
the word free versus using no charge or complimentary for generating traffic, leads and sales. Direct mail expert Dick Benson once proclaimed the word free as magical.
I was reminded of the power of a single word during a recent
discussion with a new client and the company's legal department. The
discussion focused on using get vs. win. In the context of my copy, get delivered a reward... while win implied a prize.
I wanted my reader to feel like she was earning a reward, not playing
the lottery. We compromised and used both, depending on context.
Examples of word power permeate our everyday lives. Case in point, I
recently drove by a house with a real estate sign in the front yard. I
assumed the sign was going to read, "House for Sale." Wrong. Instead it
said, "Site for Sale." House versus Site. One word had
me looking at the property completely differently. After reading the
sign, I figured the house must have major problems and the owner had
decided the only reason someone would buy the property was for the lot,
not the current house. Which led me to assume the price would reflect
this. I remembered the sign because of one word.
Every word you choose — no matter what you're writing — impacts your
readers' perceptions and, ultimately, their actions. Everyone who writes
subject lines, Twitter posts, catalog copy and call-to-action buttons
with space limitations understands this. If you're interested, you can read more about choosing the right word for the right reason.