Those darned "I's" just keep popping up where they don't belong!

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

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:

 the its about me cat

  • 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.

Nope.

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.

the delete button

 

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.

 

close

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Services for Real Estate Professionals
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Tags:
copywriting rules
writing effective prospecting letters
write for your reader
overuse of i in copy

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Rainmaker
535,255
Gay E. Rosen
Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty - Larchmont, NY
As Real as Real Estate Gets!

Marte - you are correct but I also hate agents who refer to themselves in third person.... I always start laughing! I gues a medium is okay..

Jan 09, 2012 12:00 PM #1
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Gay - Even if the "I's" are in there (as in a bio) if the sentences begin some other way it sounds a bit less self-centered.

Meanwhile, the other letters need to be all about the prospect's concerns... not about how great the agent is.

Jan 09, 2012 01:21 PM #2
Ambassador
559,434
Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986.
eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com - Victoria, BC
Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490

Hi Marte,

Suggested,  the trick on all writing is really to write for the benefit of the reader,  rather than the writer..... considering the personality trait of most agents that might not be so easy :o)

Jan 09, 2012 01:27 PM #3
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Peter & Linda - thank you for the giggle. You are SO right!

Jan 09, 2012 02:43 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Corinne - Thanks for the giggle. How about an ap for the computer that would pop up and shout: "STOP. Re-write that!" Every time you wrote a sentence beginning with I?

Jan 10, 2012 08:14 AM #6
Rainer
147,717
Michael S. Bolton
Michael S. Bolton,Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
MN Appraiser

Marte~I just want to say thanks for this great post, I think you did a great job and I can see how this can make a difference and I'll do a better job of watching my "I's." Have a great evening!

Jan 10, 2012 12:09 PM #7
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Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff

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