Title of Post Here (please use descriptive words)

I just received a document promoting a conference I’m attending with my clients. Its anonymous writer titled the document—well, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. So I’ll show you instead:

Using the word "descriptive" is not the same as writing descriptive words

Whoever came up with that title probably owns a dog named Dog.

The point of “descriptive promotional material” is to describe and promote. But, folks, writing the word “descriptive” does not qualify as using descriptive words. You’d think in the absence of an attention-getting headline, they’d at least go with the title of the program. But, no, that appears just below this headline, under a subhead identifying it as—you guessed it—”Program Title.”

How much “promoting” do you suppose gets done with a title this boring? I’m willing to bet that not even the person who wrote this thing wants to read it.

And then we follow this plain brown wrapper of a title with a lawyer-ly acronym. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate acronyms to begin with, but sometimes you can’t avoid them. Maybe you use the phrase repeatedly; maybe you have limited space.

Anyone want to guess how many times they repeat the phrase “Descriptive Promotional Material” in this particular document?

If you guessed “none,” you win.

If I sound personally offended, that’s because I am. There aren’t enough hours in the day to tolerate bad business writing: The folks who produced this copy completely wasted my time. And their own.

  • writing