Those darned "I's" just keep popping up where they don't belong!
A few days ago I wrote about the over-use of "I's" in agent bios. Yes, the bio is "about you" but when 27 sentences out of 30 begin with the word "I" it makes for some "turn-off" reading for site visitors. Nobody wants an overdose of "I" from anyone.
For writers, this is not surprising news...
Way back in the dark ages, the most informative class I took in 4 years of college was about business writing. The two most important concepts taught in that class were:
- Never, ever - on penalty of death or shame - begin a business letter with the words "I" or "We."
- Always learn and use the name of the person you're writing to - and spell it correctly.
Of course, the subject of too many "I's" came up again in copywriting classes. The truth is, nobody wants to hear about the writer - they want to hear about their own concerns.
For that reason, avoiding the "I" is "Rule #1."
That said, wouldn't you think that anyone who is writing prospecting letters for other people might have learned that lesson.
Yesterday I decided to check out what some of my competitors had to offer, so started reading sample prospecting letters. Some were OK - but others shocked me. I couldn't believe it when all those "I's" appeared on the page! They were almost as bad as the bio with 27 sentences beginning with "I."
What upsets me is that some folks - not having studied copywriting or business writing - will buy and use those letters. Why shouldn't they be able to assume that a person who bills themselves as a business writer would know what they're doing?
The rule of thumb -
Along with never, ever, ever beginning your letter with an "I," the rule of thumb is that the word "you" (or some variation thereof) should appear at least 3 to 4 times as often as the words "I" and "We."
So be careful.
If you use pre-written letters, of course I'd like you to use mine.
But we humans like to shop around. So when you're shopping, always read a sample or two of the writer's work before you buy.
And if you see a page full of "I's" - click that little box up in the right hand corner.The red one with an X in it.