Words that Zing

by Colleen Jones

26 Reader Comments

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  1. Excellent points. This article supports my own opionion of, and experience with, web writing - namely, that it matters. Great job.
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  2. It’s amazing how little thought people put into some of the biggest decisions on their site. Really makes you think about the details that need to go into each “call to action.”
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  3. Your post really drives home the importance of well crafted language in marketing, and elsewhere of course. Job 1 in marketing is getting noticed, so it’s tempting to be controversial and inflammatory, but Job 2 is building relationships. Do you really want people coming to your website who think you are a firebrand? If you’re a political blogger, yes of course. But if you’re a company selling products or services, no way. The art is crafting content that strikes a balance between interest and true value for the reader’s time.
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  4. Using Comcast as an example of good customer service made me check to see if it was April 1st. I can only assume that this must be some sort of twisted humor. Note that Neflix uses “exchange” rather than “return”. Probably as returning dvd to a mailbox is not quite as exciting as “exchanging” them for new ones.
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  5. First, Leen thanks for writing this article, and for leveraging kairos to explain the importance of timeliness in web writing. It’s the first time I’ve seen classical rhetoric explicitly employed outside of my program of study in rhetoric and professional communication, and it’s refreshing to see the concept applied to real-world scenarios. Second, I might be reading Figure 3 incorrectly, but it appears @comcastcares is quoted as tweeting the same message twice, and in context, it doesn’t make sense. Furthermore, the timeline of the exchange between @GrahamHill and @comcastcares is confusing. If the exchange is supposed to be linear, it’s not presented that way, with the tweets coming in at 7 hours, 4 hours, 7 hours, 4 hours, and 6 hours.
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  6. I find I am spending more and more time in my web projects on these sorts of issues.
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  7. Ironic. The article was too wordy and lacked zing; I gave up half way through.
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  8. Stewart, thanks for your observation—and close reading! The figure is corrected now.
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  9. Thanks for this wonderful case study in persuasion! Like Stewart, I appreciate seeing contemporary applications of lessons in classical rhetoric. It’s incredibly relevant: too often, marketers forget the main goal of most websites is to forge a relationship between their company and audience—and then to use that relationship as the basis of persuasion about their brand, service, or product. As you point out, when they lose sight of that goal, they open the floodgates for lifeless copy, endless feature lists, pointless design. What’s another casualty, along with the zing? Active voice. You just can’t persuade someone to trust your brand or buy your service if no one drives the action.
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  10. Firstly, great article. It never ceases to make me happy when i see people that appreciates the importance of web sites and the marketing opportunity in them. But in fact, it’s one of the greatest ways to get yourself “known” at all or get yourself heard by other people if you have a point to make. Oh and for those who say that “There is no bad advertising”, The way you design your website and mention your keypoints are more essential than people think… Anyway again, Great article!
    Dena Tasarım
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  11. I fully agree with your comments and support your concept of kairos in effective communications.  For similar reasons, I used the word “kairos” in my own company name (BlueKairos), to drive home the need for the right action at the right time to truly capitalize on new opportunities.  Keep up the good work!
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  12. Some good advices, but I think it can be more interesting with more examples in the wild.
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  13. Nice article, but why all the text as images? They didn’t even have helpful alt text. Not what I expect on A List Apart. TRiG.
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  14. The concept of kairos can be extended not just to the written word, but impromptu videos posted with a face and a name to give a person a connection to a corporate message. Mythic Entertainment did these brief promo videos for months prior to rolling out Warhammer MMORPG. They did a great job of turning some negatives into positives, not just in written word, but in visual media as well.
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  15. Great article, I love that you’ve related such classic rhetoric as “kairos” to our content writing mission of the day… web design! You’re right that it is so important to present the content of any website to the visitor in the right tone at the right time, with the right balance of information/pursuasion along with that all important, perfectly placed, call to action! And so there was action…
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  16. Thanks for the smart comments! What I love about the concept of kairos is it requires knowing the “big picture”—ideally having a content strategy—AND paying attention to the words in that opportune moment. We tend to focus on either the big picture or the details, but we need to focus on how they both work together.
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  17. I think it’s doubly important in this day and age of the interweb to use words that really do drive the readers into trusting your brand. So many people slap up copy without thinking about how it really represents them as a company. I’ll be putting the concept Kairos to good use on my own site in future! Clever article.
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  18. ANY writing matters, but most people don’t seem to agree, those that write for the web, anyway. No matter what people think, incorrect spelling and grammar make an impression. If I were going to purchase a product, and the web page was full of spelling errors and bad grammar, I’d go elsewhere to buy it.
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  19. I agree with Colleen Jones that all textual content must be treated carefully in order to get this “˜zing-effect’. As she explains in her though-provoking article the selected words have really significance among users. Nice and positive attitude leaves a good and purposeful impression. As we know, it’s common that web texts, microcopies and other textual materials haven’t been finalized on Web Services. Perhaps those materials have been copied and pasted quickly without paying attention to them. When writing good “˜kairos’ I would put also all good journalistic practices in use. Texts and materials need the good structure. In my small article “˜“How to write a minimalist content”:http://anttihaverinen.net/thoughideas/write-minimalist-content/”’ I tell the benefits, why the content can be extremely persuading when the idea of the inverted pyramid has been taken into account. -Antti Haverinen
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  20. The article is completely on track, well done. Spending enough time focusing to wordsmith the right zing for your online presence is as critical as it is regional, demo-graphical, and industry-centric. With people spending less than two minutes on your site, on average, the message needs to hook and land your visitors in a quick and snappy manner.
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  21. This is a good article but with some of the sites I have designed accuracy of information comes first with marketing second. While both are important sometimes it is difficult to produce a webpage that encompasses both.
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  22. When I first read this article, I wasn’t nearly as well-read on the five canons of classical rhetoric. Now having a stronger on core rhetorical principles, I think I’ve a different understanding of the nature of kairos and how it applies to the web. Colleen, I understand you to be defining kairos on the web as: how to use words with the right tone in the right context to persuasively appeal to a given audience. However, putting emphasis on kairos being about the *right moment*, I don’t think you’re discussing kairos in this article, but rather the rhetorical principles of invention (what to say) and style (how to say it). Kairos is really about *when* you communicate a message. So kairos is more concerned with interactions such as those encountered during an e-commerce checkout, a tutorial, subscription process, a search, or while using an online office suite. An example of what I mean is when a new user logs into Google Docs for the first time and they are presented with a pop-up box offering an optional tour. That first login is a kairotic moment where Google can educate its new users about how they’ll benefit from using the application. Another example would be when a user is buying flowers on FTD.com and during the checkout process is presented the option of adding a gift card or a box of chocolates to their order before submitting their payment information. Both of these are examples of kairotic moments in web design and exemplify messaging at the *right time*, although the principles of invention and style would still apply.
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  23. There is so much garbage out there on the web today. So, it was really refreshing to read your article and be able to nod in agreement all the way through. The quality of content and the quality of the writing is critical to the success of any website.
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  24. Great article. It will help a lot in article marketing. I am hoping to improve my SERP implementing these strategies. Regards
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  25. Excellent points. I’ve learnt many things from this articles.
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  26. I appreciate your comments and well written article.  I do not agree with some others negative comments here. Keep up the great work. “Red Door Solutions”:http://www.reddoorsolutions.com “Back Pain”:http://www.painrap.com “Blogging For Money”:http://www.trickmyblog.com “Jewelry Designs”:http://www.brassandbeads.com
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