(Before we commence with our regularly scheduled programming, a big link-back token of my appreciation to Kyle Lammers at Lender 411 for his uber-nice write up of our little blog. As my daughter, the sixth year Spanish student, might say, Mucho Thank You!)
If you don’t have a blog, then you probably think that all of this magic just happens by, well, magic! It’s easy, you think, to spin a brand new entertaining yarn every lunar cycle or so about Giant Tree Roots of Death, Milton’s Deli or, on that rare occasion, even real estate.
Blasphemy! Au contraire, even. I am here to tell you that this blogging stuff is hard work. I’ve been dangling my participles here since April 1996. And during that time, I have learned that one must constantly strive to improve ones craft if one is to have a fighting chance of holding the attention of at least one of their three readers.
Yesterday I was reading an article from Copyblogger titled “11 Ways to Bore the Boots Off Your Readers.” And, no, they didn’t mention me by name but if you play it backwards, I’m pretty sure you can make it out.
The truth is that I have been violating the laws of copywriting for far too long. My posts are criminally long; my rambling diatribes are both feloniously off-topic and far too infrequent.
I may be older than color TV, but it’s not too late for me. So allow me to take my new skills out for a whirl. Number One on Copyblogger’s how-to hit list is that “each article should have one big idea.” Here goes.
- BIG IDEA: PROCESSING A SHORT SALE IS AS MUCH FUN AS REMOVING YOUR OWN APPENDIX WITH A BUTTER KNIFE WHILE BEING FORCED TO WATCH THE ENTIRE THIRD SEASON OF “JERSEY SHORES” AS YOU DINE ON YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW’S TURKEY MEATLOAF.
But there’s more.
2. Keep sentences short and lively. Use periods. Often.
Incorrect: It defies logic that a certain lender, one we shall just call WtF, sent my client (and I am not making this up) TWENTY-ONE identical Notices of Default on a single day, ELEVEN of which were delivered by regular mail and the remainder by certified mail, the latter requiring my client to make a trip to the post office, yet WtF can’t seem to find time to process our five-month-old short sale request.
Correct: Lenders. Are. Stupid.
3. Don’t bore your readers with difficult words.
Incorrect: While customers are anathema to bank short sale departments who have a plethora of noxious files with which they must dispense, said customers and files perceived as impediments to the plethora of more essential duties (such as licking Notice of Default envelopes), it would really be nice if they considered reprioritizing their competing professional responsibilities in order to facilitate the customer’s transaction. The fact that you get eighteen weeks of vacation a year as evidenced by your email auto-responder does not ameliorate my clients present hardship.
Oh, and antidisestablishmentarianism.
Correct: Hey, bank! Over here! I’ve got a homeowner who could use a little help before we all die of natural causes!
4. Don’t be so snooty and formal.
According to the experts, to engage with your reader you need to be charming. “Show your readers the ways in which you’re like them… Use metaphors… Occasional profanity is fine.”
Incorrect: When an occasion arises whereby a lender approves a short sale, one is inclined to assume that the transaction shall progress in a meaningful and efficient manner. It is reasonable to assume that approval will not be followed by rejection, then approval, and then another rejection without some semblance of constructive notice and a subsequent opportunity for dialogue that might lead to discovery of actual relevant, compelling facts and a mutually beneficial resolution.
Correct: I like it when people return my phone calls. I bet you do too! We sure can go faster and farther when we are all rowing our boats in the same direction, dang it! And, by the way, as my grand-pappy used to say, the online “Equator” processing system bites the big one.
More Correct: If I ran my business like the banks run their short sale departments, I would be living out of a refrigerator carton in the brush under the southbound connector ramp to I-15. And banks are full of horse doodie.
5. Use a readable font and don’t let your readers drown in dreary blocks of text. Be generous with white space. And always use compelling images.
Incorrect: It can be exceedingly frustrating when you are asked to perform the same task multiple times, as this repetition is both unnecessary and counter productive. Such repetition causes pointless delay that, in turn, reduces the bottom line to the very lender who is trying to recover as much of the unpaid mortgage debt as possible.
Correct: Are you kidding me?
You just asked me to resubmit my client’s tax returns (and I am not making this up, either) for the fifth time?
I have faxed them to you, emailed them to you, and uploaded them in your Equator system.
At one point, they were delivered directly to your office by sled dog while we all yelled “mush” in unison.
6. Be unpredictable. “Shakespeare misused words. He used nouns as verbs: he godded me. And adjectives as verbs:thick my blood. This technique surprises and “wakes up” the brain.” (Note: Shakespeare wasn’t under pressure to post to his bloggeth on a regular basis, but I digress.)
Incorrect: Despite numerous and repeated attempts by the government and, presumably, the lenders to streamline, automate, systemize, accelerate and generally facilitate the short sale process, the process remains laughably inefficient and fraught with bureaucratic procedures and check-list requirements that ultimately harm the borrower, the lien holder and market recovery in general.
Correct: The short sale process annoy my head and, yea, the lenders doth, more oft than nay, sucketh.
Today, I only worked on 5 of the 11 big bloggy no-no’s. But, as Shakespeare well knoweth, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Plus, I have just been informed that my client’s short sale – the one that was approved last week – is on hold again. They need to order a new appraisal. And they want to see the tax returns – this time fully illustrated and presented as a pop-up book.