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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Make Your B2B Marketing 10x More Readable… and Take off Your Straightjacket


For our 4th Copywriting Tune-up this month, we return to the Silicon Valley 150. I wanted to get outside my comfort zone which is the learning domain. There are times when not being the expert is a plus and this is one of them.

Yours truly knows enough relational database theory to be dangerous and writing dynamic web pages is fun once in a while, but I’m no maven on the enterprise data integration products Informatica offers.

As with many enterprise software companies, the copy on Informatica’s website is stiff. This article proves you can loosen up a bit and still maintain a very respectful corporate tone. Better still, your prospects will respond because you’re talking to them and not some third person academic (no slight to professors or teachers - I’m one myself).

Like our last tune-up, we’ll look at a corporate overview. I consider corporate overviews important because, for many readers, this is their first exposure to the company. This makes it imperative they "put their best foot forward."

Copywriting Tune-up

This tune-up consolidates all of the principles we’ve addressed this month. The challenges are to:

  • Eliminate the passive voice to make it easy to understand

    (for a quick explanation of the passive voice, see my tune-up of the Hewlett Packard white paper on Halo, their collaboration platform)

  • Inject action into the copy so it’s more alive and less like a statue

  • Maintain a corporate tone


Informatica Corporate Overview

Informatica Corporation delivers data integration software and services to solve the problem of data fragmentation across disparate systems, helping organizations gain greater business value from all their information assets. Informatica's open, platform-neutral software reduces costs, speeds time to results, and scales to handle data integration projects of any size or complexity. With a proven track record of success, Informatica helps companies and government organizations of all sizes realize the full business potential of their enterprise data. That's why Informatica is known as the data integration company.

Overview: Why Informatica is The Data Integration Company

Solve the problem of fragmented data across disparate systems. Help your organization capture the whole value of its information assets. Reduce costs, speed time to results, and scale for data integration projects of any size or complexity. Use the open, platform-independent solutions of Informatica to make it happen.

Tap into a proven track record of success. Realize the full potential of your enterprise data. This is why organizations of all sizes from every sector trust Informatica to be their "data integration company."

Readability Statistics

The Before snippet is weighed down with ¼ of its sentences in the passive voice. The After snippet switches to active voice and the passage becomes 10 times more readable.

While it may be possible to bring down the grade level some more, given the highly esoteric nature of Informatica products, eliminating jargon could do more harm than good by transforming the piece into training as opposed to selling.

The Headline: Stallion or Statue?

The Before snippet gives us the usual corporate heading and it’s straightforward, for sure. Even in this context, I think the headline should do more than simply label the section it covers. What’s the purpose of an overview in the first place? It must whet the reader’s appetite for more.

I admit, the headline in the After snippet could be catchier and it lacks an action verb. If I were working at Informatica, I’d know who approves this stuff and have an idea of how far to push the limits of "corporate safeness."

Still, this headline performs far more than just labeling. Informatica chose to conclude its overview by referring to itself as "the data integration company." Sounds like an important phrase and maybe it’s a tag line they use elsewhere so, I decided we should get the reader onboard with this notion sooner rather than later.

After all, if your company were branded "the data integration company," you would occupy hallowed ground in the same way Kleenex, Xerox and WebEx do in their niches. Best of all, your competitors would hate you for it.

Treat Readers’ Eyes with Respect

The Before snippet compacts everything into a single paragraph. It’s already a long page with scrolling. No need to get claustrophobic. In fact, given how many headers follow this paragraph, it might have made sense to provide a sub-menu or some in-page links near the top so readers could go directly to their point of interest.

Unlike dead air on radio which can lose listeners instantly, white space on the page arranges information into manageable chunks and supports the reader’s effort to make sense of it. This is complex material – give the brain a chance to catch up with the eye.

Let Readers Catch their Breath – Write Shorter Sentences

The Before snippet immediately bombards readers with lengthy clauses like "delivers data integration software and services to solve the problem of", "data fragmentation across disparate systems" and "helping organizations gain greater business value from…"

Notice the After snippet uses more sentences and how they’re shorter in length. By starting shorter sentences with verbs, we sharpen our focus on a single benefit. Given few reasonably intelligent people can hold on to two or more bullet points in their head at a time, we should avoid packing sentences with lengthy clauses.

Speak from Your Reader’s Point of View Using Action Sentences

Our last tune-up explains how focusing on action forces us to think from the reader’s point of view. In the Before snippet, none of the sentences begin with a verb. The After snippet starts all but one of its sentences with a verb. Doing so forces you, as a writer, to think, "What’s in it for me, the reader?"

Even if this is not a sales letter, it is sales literature and it should promote some call to action whether it’s reading more, entering data into a form, or navigating to another part of the site.

True, the After snippet does not prompt an explicit action but it does accomplish two things. First, it makes a concise yet powerful case for the branding its headline calls out. Second, it creates interest so the reader will read on.

Moreover, action sentences from your reader’s point of view give you license to use the second person voice. Addressing readers with "you" and "your" creates a hotline from your pen to their minds and maybe even their hearts.

Address Readers Using Second Person Voice without Triggering Sales Hype

For some reason, enterprise software companies labor under the pretense they must write in third person and passive voices or risk coming across as wild-eyed hucksters unworthy of further attention.

Thankfully, it’s easy to address your readers directly without losing credibility. The After snippet maintains a corporate tone while using a second person voice throughout.

One little secret to striking this balance – even if you leave out "you" and "your" in a sentence, so long as you start it with an action verb, you’ll achieve what I call, "implied second person voice." This allows for sparing use of "you" and "your."

Implied second person voice with occasional use of "you" and "your" will raise your credibility because readers find your literature easier to understand yet free from sales hype.

Write for Both Kinds of Readers – Scanners and Scrutinizers

Scanners skim the headlines and read a little body copy here and there. Scrutinizers read every line with rapt attention. Satisfying both types of readers makes sub-heads vital to your success.

For both types of readers, sub-heads act as "connective tissue." Scanners want to skim the headline and sub-heads and come away with a meaningful insight into your offer or value proposition. Scrutinizers want continuity as they complete a section of body copy and move on to the next sub-head.

On the Informatica overview page, following the opening paragraph is the sub-head, "Market Leaders Rely on Informatica."

From the scanner’s point of view, the page so far reads, "Informatica Corporate Overview" and "Market Leaders Rely on Informatica." Scanners will view this as lifeless because there are no action verbs or second person voice. Worse still, the two headers have no meaningful connection to each other. They’re nothing more than labels.

From the scrutinizer’s point of view, the Before snippet fares a little better. The last sentence asserts Informatica is the data integration company and then we have the sub-head, "Market Leaders Rely on Informatica." Not tight but not totally disjointed either.

If the After snippet continued on, I would re-write the next sub-head as "Join the Market Leaders Who Rely on Informatica."

Scanners would read, "Overview: Why Informatica is The Data Integration Company" followed by, "Join the Market Leaders Who Rely on Informatica." One head naturally leads into the next. The sub-head starts with an action verb. This "ratchets up" the intensity as we move along. Chances are better a scanner will think, "Hey, I better get on top of this before our competitors do."

Scrutinizers would read "This is why organizations of all sizes from every sector trust Informatica to be their ‘data integration company’" followed by, "Join the Market Leaders Who Rely on Informatica." The flow here is tight. For good measure, scrutinizers will read body copy invoking the word "trust" followed by the sub-head using, "rely." Two very emotion-laden verbs without triggering sales hype.

Evoke More Emotion with your Choice of Words

The Before snippet uses the term "platform-neutral" whereas the After snippet opts for "platform-independent." The term "neutral" is, well, neutral. "Independent" evokes feelings of empowerment. The latter has a far more positive connotation and it reflects better on Informatica.

Never Diminish Thyself

Avoid using your company’s name in the possessive form. In the Before snippet, we read, "Informatica's open, platform-neutral software…" This has the same effect as tilting a movie camera down on its subject – the subject looks diminished because the viewer can "look down" on it.

The After snippet reads, "Use the open, platform-independent solutions of Informatica to make it happen." By placing the item possessed first and following it with "of Informatica," the effect is equivalent to tilting a movie camera up at its subject – the subject looks powerful and important because the viewer must "look up" to it.


Enterprise software companies need to take off their self-imposed straightjackets when presenting themselves. Sure, one could argue, Informatica, like many enterprise software companies, is doing just fine with stiff copy because their success is a combination of technical innovation, strong management leadership and savvy salespeople in the field.

Then again, clear, crisp copy can make everyone’s job easier with softer landings during lean times and accelerated sales when bull markets run. To me, investing in great copy sounds like buying a call option – you can’t lose anymore than you spent to acquire it and the upside is unlimited.

To your marketing success,

Eric "Rocket" Rosen
Clear Crisp Communications
Tel: 408.506.0719
Fax: 814.253.5142
Email: eric.rosen AT
ROCKET Response Copywriting Services
Polished Marketing Materials in 24, 48 or 72 Hours

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Chat with your Copywriter for Faster Results

A big shoutout to Amit Agarwal of Digital Inspiration for this excellent synopsis of chat alternatives for blogs and websites.

Is there a Copywriting Makeover you'd like to chat about? The material can come from anywhere - this blog, other sites, you name it.

Meebo Me is Private 1 to 1 Chat

Gabbly is Public Many to Many Chat

What effect do you think chat will have on Marketing Communications?

To your marketing success,

Eric "Rocket" Rosen
Clear Crisp Communications
Tel: 408.506.0719
Fax: 814.253.5142
Email: eric.rosen AT
ROCKET Response Copywriting Services
Polished Marketing Materials in 24, 48 or 72 Hours

Friday, August 18, 2006

What a 184% Increase in Readability Could do for a Fortune 50 Company


In this edition of Copywriting Tune-ups, we target the webpage copy of a bona-fide Goliath – The Thomson Corporation. As of this writing, Thomson Financial is #34 in the Global Fortune 500.

Company literature claims the products and services of Thomson Learning are in use at 80% of Fortune 100 organizations.

Thomson Learning solutions draw upon the resources and expertise of the Thomson family of companies. Among the best known holdings of Thomson Learning are NETg and KnowledgeNet.

A revamp of the Thomson Learning Overview presents several challenges:

  • Shift the perspective from "us, we, our" to "you, your, yours"
  • Emphasize action
  • Retain a corporate tone

Copywriting Tune-up


For more than a century, Thomson Learning has created award-winning content in collaboration with leading experts for higher education, library reference, corporate, government, and professional customers. With our proven methodologies and expertise across many disciplines, we deliver:

  • Insight into your unique needs with your proven track record of over 100 years
  • Market-leading positions in the majority of disciplines in which we participate
  • Learning solutions to 80% of Fortune 100 companies
  • A vast array of products and services delivered in multiple learning formats

We have assembled - in one portfolio - all the critical content, technology and expertise required to deliver education and training services tailored specifically to your needs. We understand the learning process and deliver the full spectrum of support to ensure that you and your organization achieve your specific educational goals.

We deliver our education and training solutions through the expertise of our businesses and brands.

Take advantage of over a century's worth of leadership in solving learning challenges. Work with experts in business, government, academe, and professional services. Use proven methodologies to:

  • Identify your unique needs
  • Build on lessons learned from numerous engagements with Fortune 100 companies
  • Roll out solutions in your preferred formats

Tap into a broad and deep portfolio of content, technology, and expertise you can tailor to your specific education and training needs. Team up with experts in the learning process who can deliver the full spectrum of support to ensure your success.

Power your education and training solutions with the combined strength of our businesses and brands in publishing, learning, and information services.

Learn More.

Readability Statistics

With this Copywriting Tune-up, the ease of reading index skyrockets 184%. There are two other noteworthy points:

  • Total number of words plummets 22%
  • Minimum grade level needed to understand the passage drops by one year

Why Make the Shift from "We" to "You"?

As mentioned above, Thomson Learning products and services penetrate 80% of Fortune 100 companies. It’s reasonable to say, "They’re doing just fine with self-centered marketing literature so, why change it?"

My reply?

"Thomson Learning will capture the remaining 20% if it’s easy-to-read, especially if they place the needs and desires of their target audience ahead of dense, self-laudatory language. What’s more, the value derived from the jump in sales will far exceed the cost of improving the literature."

Avoid Confusion - Use Second Person Voice Consistently

The Before snippet opens with a long sentence and no mention of anything "other" directed until the last word, "customers." In this case, "customers" refers to a third party and not the reader.

To make matters more confusing, the writer front-loads "customers" with an 8-word adjective. Interpreting the meaning of this sentence is not easy. I come away with 3 possibilities where Thomson Learning:

  1. Supplies experts from its own ranks whom are experienced in the same sectors as Thomson Learning customers
  2. Sources leading experts from outside of Thomson Learning whom have expertise in the same sectors as Thomson Learning customers, or
  3. Works with experts supplied by its customers.

The After snippet starts with the verb phrase, "Take advantage," so the reader will understand the vendor is trying to serve their interest. With this added clarity, the benefit of accumulated experience in solving learning challenges comes across more forcefully. The second After sentence interprets the first Before sentence as Thomson Learning supplying experts from its own ranks.

Delivering Benefits or Reminiscing?

"Deliver" is a loaded word. It screams to the prospect, "get what you came for and go home happy." The Before snippet uses it as a verb to be repeated with each bullet point it precedes. This could be a powerful technique but it fails for several reasons.

These bullets are self-focused and congratulatory. Any tie there is between methodology and expertise as inputs and these bullet results as outputs is muddled.

Bullet #1

The first bullet is on the right track when it utters the words, "your unique needs," but it fizzles by surrounding it with vague terms like "insight" and more customer-could-care-less bravado about Thomson’s number of years in business. The first bullet in the After snippet opts for a "less is more" approach focused solely on benefits to the customer.

Bullet #2

In the Before snippet, try reading the lead-in sentence and then skip to the second bullet. Does this make sense? Are satisfied customers the reason Thomson Learning occupies leading positions in the disciplines it pursues? If so, what made those customers satisfied? This is a very obtuse way of touting a high customer satisfaction rate.

Bullet #3

The third bullet almost cuts it. No doubt, 80 customers in the Fortune 100 is impressive. But, from the prospect’s standpoint, how learning solutions delivered to others makes life easier at his company is unclear. The second bullet in the After snippet makes an explicit connection between the quality of work one can expect from Thomson Learning and their previous experience satisfying demanding customers.

Bullet #4

Given this is an Overview and not a more specific or technical document, with the fourth bullet, it’s fair to ask several questions:

  • "Do prospects care about a vast array of products in multiple learning formats especially when they view their problem as unique?"
  • "What is a service delivered in a learning format?"
  • "What is a learning format and is it some variation of ‘general formats?’"

The final bullet in the After snippet keeps this benefit easy-to-understand and generic enough for an Overview. One way to make this bullet more concrete is to list some of the formats.

Focus on Action and You’ll Adopt Your Prospect’s Perspective Automatically

Recall, the first two objectives of this tune-up are to:

  • Shift our perspective from self to prospect
  • Emphasize action

Interestingly enough, the more we focus on action, the easier it gets to be other-oriented.

The paragraph following the bullets is the best one because it makes the greatest effort to speak in the second voice. It hits on "your needs" and "your specific educational goals." Unfortunately, the writer muffles the full impact this can have by starting each sentence with "We." The After snippet makes the broad and deep resources of Thomson Learning less intimidating and easier for prospects to grasp by starting each sentence with a verb so they can "see what’s in it for them."

Start Sentences with Verbs – Early and Often

Notice how every sentence of the After snippet begins with a verb. This is deliberate. Starting sentences with a verb is the best way to move your prospect to action. As mentioned above, it has the added benefit of simplifying the important takeaways in your message. This makes it easier for your prospects to take action or, at the very least, remember your offer.

The final paragraph is cryptic unless we follow the link. This is more likely to cause a prospect to abandon the link than it is to make them curious and click on it. Another reason is there are no verbs from the prospect’s perspective.

In the After snippet, we start with an action verb from the prospect’s point of view. Not only is it less cryptic, we reduce fuzziness about the businesses and brands by listing the major categories in which they operate before showing the link. We encourage prospects to click the link by using the verb phrase "Learn More."

Ironically, the Thomson Learning homepage link to this Overview also reads, "Learn More." It would be a good idea to use verb-centric hypertext links consistently. It’s hard to go wrong with "Learn More."


The prospect thinks you’re only as good as what you can do for them now.

Yes, they’re inclined to deal with vendors sporting an impressive track record, but if the track record and resources you can bring to bear overwhelm your message, the prospect will likely choose the player with a similar record of accomplishment and a benefits-oriented message.

Call me crazy, but I really do think if Thomson Learning adopted the principles outlined here, they’d capture the remaining 20 companies in the Fortune 100 they haven’t already.

To your marketing success,

Eric "Rocket" Rosen
Clear Crisp Communications
Tel: 408.506.0719
Fax: 814.253.5142
Email: eric.rosen AT
ROCKET Response Copywriting Services
Polished Marketing Materials in 24, 48 or 72 Hours

Friday, August 11, 2006

It's Not About You, It's About Your Offer


When I think of the San Jose software company, Qarbon, I recall the story of David and Goliath. In this case, Qarbon is David and another San Jose firm, Adobe, is Goliath.

Qarbon's products are mainly desktop authoring packages used to create Adobe Flash movies for online presentations and e-learning courses. Their flagship product, ViewletBuilder, competes with Breeze and Captivate - applications from, you guessed it, Adobe.

Qarbon offers registered users of its authoring packages ViewletCentral - a hosted application with different levels of membership. It's a combination of content management system, learning management system and traffic analysis service.

In this installment of Copywriting Tune-ups, we re-write the ViewletCentral portion of the current Qarbon newsletter to make it:

  • action oriented
  • easy to understand

Copywriting Tune-up


Help us serve you better by participating in our on-line surveys

By completing both of our small surveys, you will be entitled to an exciting reward:

For ViewletCentral users, we will add 3 months to your account free of charge or upgrade you for 1 month to the next subscription level (your choice).

For all others, we will give you a free 3 month subscription to a ViewletCentral Licenced Bronze account worth 75 dollars.

Claim Your Free 3-Month Subscription to ViewletCentral

Complete 2 lightening-quick surveys and you can:

  • Add 3 months to your account at no charge
  • Upgrade to the next level. Enjoy all your added privileges for 1 month free

Not a registered user? Sign up to test-drive ViewletCentral for 3 months absolutely free (a $75 value).

Readability Statistics

Overall, the changes discussed below give us a 43% jump in readability. Notice how grade level drops by 6 years. The Before snippet required a high school senior’s reading ability to comfortably understand the pitch. Now, a freshman in middle school will catch on.

Go Easy on the Eye

White space matters. The layout of your offer must be easy to take in whether you’re scanning or reading it word by word.

Less clutter eliminates the fatigue of information overload. One way to sweep away clutter is to use bullet points. Bullet points accelerate your prospect’s grasp of the offer.

Speak from the Prospect’s Point of View

The most important thing of all is perspective. The Before snippet reads from the vendor’s standpoint. The After snippet reads from the prospect’s point of view.

The opening headlines make this clear. The Before snippet starts with "Help us help you…" Placing pronouns like "I, we, or us" early on in your message causes your prospect to activate their anti-sales defense shields because they haven’t read "what’s in it for them" yet. The After snippet begins with "Claim Your Free..." to immediately couch things from the prospect’s point of view.

Inspire Action not Reflection

Verbs spark motion, nouns just sit there. None of the paragraphs in the Before snippet start with verbs. In the After snippet, starting with verbs transforms nearly every sentence into a customer benefit with a call to action.

Sweat the Subtleties

How to Spin "Give Before You Get"

The newsletter entices readers to take a survey using temporary ViewletCentral membership as bait. Few people like to take surveys no matter how short so, it’s important to put the right spin on it.

The Before snippet opens with "By completing both of our small surveys, you will be entitled to..." This is wordy and leaves the prospect to think, "OK, get on with it, what’s in it for me?"

Now, 2 less obvious points. "Both" means "all" and "all" in this context suggests work – ugh. Next, by using the word "small," the writer intended to minimize the work aspect of taking the survey and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, it unintentionally denigrates the survey itself.

The After snippet looks upon this opening sentence as a necessary speed bump to come clean with the catch before launching into why prospects should love it. It labels the surveys as "lightening-quick" to assure the prospect:

  • this sacrifice is virtually imperceptible
  • they get the better of the deal

Make Your Prospects Feel as Welcome as Your Customers

Ever fly coach? Do you sometimes feel like a third-class citizen because you’re not among the first or business-class travelers?

The writer did not intend to have this effect and it is subtle but the phrases, "For ViewletCentral users," and "For all others," emphasize the "in group versus the out group."

The After snippet never mentions the in group because speaking of accounts and privileges makes this clear. By asking the question, "Not a registered user?" we politely and humbly suggest gaining in group status is quick and easy.


Layout, point of view, and choice of words affect our conversion rate. Emphasize action verbs. Make rewards obvious. Their value must clearly exceed any sacrifice required.

Next year, Qarbon will celebrate its 10th anniversary – a true survivor of the dot com bust and everything since. They compete with Macromedia and now, Adobe. They must be doing something right.

Armed with powerful copy, this David can start making Goliath nervous.

To your marketing success,

Eric "Rocket" Rosen
Clear Crisp Communications
Tel: 408.506.0719
Fax: 814.253.5142
Email: eric.rosen AT
ROCKET Response Copywriting Services
Polished Marketing Materials in 24, 48 or 72 Hours

Sunday, August 06, 2006

How-to Make Excellent Marketing Literature 37% More Readable


For our first installment of Copywriting Tune-ups, we focus on a product called Halo from Hewlett Packard (HP). Why choose HP? They're #1 on the Silicon Valley 150. Why Halo ? When software helps people overcome barriers of time, distance and culture, I get excited and writing about it is irresistible.

We look at the white paper explaining how Halo marks a major advance in business collaboration technology but first, let's answer the question, "What is Halo?" To quote HP:

The Halo studio—designed by DreamWorks Animation in partnership with HP—provides life-size, real-time, eye-to-eye conferencing with outstanding audio and no delay. Halo gives the sense of being in the same room together...

When you buy Halo studios from HP you connect your organization in a way that's never been possible before. Halo can transform how your business works by bringing people together frequently and spontaneously to collaborate in the most natural way.

This white paper is obviously top notch. The challenge is how to make it even better.

Scanning it the first time, I felt something subtle could be improved but wasn't sure what. Then, it hit me – the paper uses the passive voice. Giving the paper an active voice makes it more readable, as demonstrated below.

Finally, if you like irony, you might find the Wrap-up to this post a touch humorous.

Copywriting Tune-up

The passive voice subtly mutes the original as if a Plexiglas wall was shielding us from the full force of what the writer wants us to feel:


Though in most cases, Halo is purchased initially for senior management, businesses also report cultural changes across the company, its customers, vendors and strategic partners.

Human Resources staff use the Halo studio to interview applicants instead of flying them in for interviews. Managers eliminate travel by conducting performance appraisals and contract negotiations in Halo rooms. Projects with vendors can be completed quickly with no in-person meetings at all.

At the same time, relationships develop, as if all of the project work were done in the same location. Companies that have gone through mergers or acquisitions report that Halo has
brought the organizational cultures together because, even though not everyone affected by mergers can travel to establish new work
relationships, they can do so using the Halo suites.

Usually, companies purchase Halo for senior management. A short time later, cultural changes spread across the company, its customers, vendors and key partners.

Human Resources staff use the Halo studio to interview applicants instead of flying them in for interviews. To eliminate travel, managers conduct performance appraisals and contract negotiations in Halo rooms. Projects with vendors finish quickly with no in-person meetings.

At the same time, new social networks form. The quality of work from these teams reaches parity with that of teams in a single location.

Companies recently merged or acquired report Halo has brought their cultures together because people unable to travel as a way of establishing new relationships achieve the same thing using Halo suites.

Get the Scoop on Readability Statistics

Before we take a closer look at the Readability Statistics pictured above, let's explain the last two measures. Throughout the 20th Century, Rudolf Flesch championed clarity in writing by simplifying sentence structures, selecting more common words, and emphasizing flow. The Flesch Reading Ease index runs from 1-100: the higher the number, the easier to read. The Flesch Kincaid Grade Level specifies the minimum reading level needed to follow a passage comfortably.

Need a Fast Grammar Lesson on Passive Voice?

The after passage removes the Plexiglas wall by eliminating the passive voice. If your grammar is a little rusty regarding the passive voice, English Grammar Online offers a simple definition with lots of examples. The passive voice creates a barrier to understanding because it leaves the subject of a sentence unknown.

Boost Readability - Make the Passive Voice Active

The screenshots above tell the story. Our reward for making the passive voice active - Flesch Reading Ease index improves by 37%.

You'll find the passive voice in scholarly writing. It makes sense the writer would choose the passive voice as white papers are meant to appear objective and free from sales hype.

Still, I contend it's okay to write white papers with an active voice.

First, in a world where everyone is starved for time and attention spans are short, we want readers to absorb the spirit of our writing without anything to impede their understanding.

Second, it's no secret white papers in the technology sector are meant to generate interest and are therefore "non-sales sales tools." We can use an active voice while remaining mindful of white paper etiquette.

So, do you consider your marketing materials to be excellent? Whether they are or not, picture what a 37% spike in readability could do for your business.


OK, I promised irony.

Doesn't It seem ironic a technology capable of creating this sense of intimacy would have its literature written in the passive voice?

Someday, the ability to beam people from place to place as envisioned by Star Trek will arrive. They'll need a white paper. Will they write it in the passive voice?

To your marketing success,

Eric Rosen
Clear Crisp Communications
Tel: 408.506.0719
Fax: 814.253.5142
Email: eric.rosen AT
Easier to Read Means More Sales and Leads