This copywriter would like a little less hyperbole, in fact a LOT less...

I've published three magazines in my admittedly somewhat peripatetic career and so one of my email addresses is on a list of magazine editors...a list that someone is selling...A LOT. So I get a massive number of unsolicited press releases from PR people. And even when I unsubscribe, these emails continue to roll in with the type of tenacity the spammers in Nairobi, Ghana, etc., so ably demonstrate.

I won't complain more than I've already complained. There's an important copywriting lesson in many of these press releases: avoidance of hyperbole.

For example, I received a press release telling me:

Important Announcement - Arthur Rutenberg Homes Now Building at The Club at Longview, South Charlotte.

I'm sorry but this announcement is totally unimportant.

Another press release trumpets...

Compelling interview:  Man on the Cutting Edge of "Information Medicine"- changing the way people heal in the Carolinas.

I sent an email to the sender saying, "there's nothing compelling about this whatsoever."

I receive emails from four people I admire in the direct marketing business: Will Swayne, Bob Bly, Craig Huey, and Andrew Wood.

Let's take a look at some of their email subject lines and headlines.

How the "Down Sell" Hooks a Prospect for Life

4 recession-marketing tips

6 surprising keys to profitable direct mail in 2011

Client gets 870 paying client in 1 *week*

These are me information I find valuable.

Sometimes, when copywriting, it's tempting to drift into hyperbole then I remind myself I have to back up everything with raw numbers. And even if the raw numbers are amazing, or compelling, or important, if they're off the scale, nobody is going to believe them.

Let's all remember, potential clients are intelligent...and skeptical. If they think it sounds too good to be true, they will stop reading...just like I do when I receive a press release telling me something is "compelling" or "important."


I'm a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte NC USA. My website is here.