Words that Zing

by Colleen Jones

26 Reader Comments

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  1. 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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  2. Some good advices, but I think it can be more interesting with more examples in the wild.

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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. Excellent points. I’ve learnt many things from this articles.

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  16. I appreciate your comments and well written article.  I do not agree with some others negative comments here. Keep up the great work.

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