Write a stronger sentence: taglines

Writing taglines is one of my favorite things to do. Sometimes all I need to do is edit an existing tagline to make it better. Here’s one I did recently.

When I teach my writing coaching clients how to tighten up sentences, they say they like it when I go through it step by step, so let’s do that here!

This is the front page for my acupuncturist’s new website.

So the first thing that catches my eye is the “it is.” Writing without contractions gives your writing a formal feel. I’d prefer the contraction, “it’s” which is more conversational.

“Purpose and passion” also feels a bit formal for my tastes, but those words might be important to the owner, so we’ll leave them for now.

It’s our purpose and passion to help people like you to not just get better, but also to thrive.

See? That sounds a little friendlier already.

The next thing that bugs me is “people like you.” It’s a strange thing to say. Who is this tagline talking to, if not me, the reader?

Let’s use second person “you.”

It’s our purpose and passion to help you not just get better, but also to thrive.

Two more problems here:

  1. “Get better” is a weak verb. “Thrive,” the verb at the end, is a nice strong verb, so let’s see what we can pair with it. How about “heal?”
  2. I normally don’t like the word “help” as a helper verb (“help you get better”), as it usually weakens the verb, and is not needed. But in this unique case, the acupuncturist is actually helping you, the patient, so it can stand.

It’s our purpose and passion to help you not just to heal, but also to thrive.

Ok now we’ve got two strong verbs, but they’re connected by clunky clauses. Taglines should be strong and positive, and anytime you throw in a negative, it slows things down in the reader’s mind. Also, this construction makes it sound like the thriving is something separate from the healing, something additional. But here, it’s sequential. You can’t thrive without healing first.

Let’s try this:

It’s our purpose and passion to help you heal, so you can thrive.

If it’s really important for the owner to keep the words “purpose and passion” in the tagline, then we’re done. However, if this were my business, here’s what I’d write:

The Wellbridge Clinic

We help you heal, so you can thrive.

Isn’t that so much stronger?
“Help” still bugs me, but saying, “We heal you so you can thrive” doesn’t sound right at all. Maybe if I chew on it more I’ll come up with something better, but this is a vast improvement from where we started.

As you can imagine, there are other issues with weak writing on the site, like this one:

  • The term “greater wellness” is a little general and marketey, but I understand what this is saying. You’re working together to help people get more healthy.
  • You actually don’t NEED the word “together,” but it does add a nice sentiment, if you really want that. However, the word “let’s” already implies that there are multiple parties as the subject, me and whoever is saying this.
  • The word “find” really bugs me here. Are you walking along together outside, and this conversation happens?
    “Hey Fred! Look on the side of the road! I think I see some GREATER WELLNESS!”

A better word here would be “create.”

Let’s Create Greater Wellness, Together

Here endeth the lesson!

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