Badass Books: Word Hero by Jay Heinrichs


I've been on a library kick the last few months. The library is perfect for stumbling on books that you might not otherwise read.

Word Hero by Jay Heinrichs was one of those books.

I'll admit, I was initially drawn to it by the cover and the catchy title. But once I read what the book was really about, I knew I had to read it.

Getting Jiggy with Jargon

Not only is the book rife with quotes from Glee, it's filled with tips and how-to's to take your copy from drab to fab.

The book focuses on the technicalities of wordsmithing (tropes, puns, and more), tricks to parse your favorite quotes and make them your own, and how to get your point across without getting lost in the details.

As someone who writes daily — from blogs posts to newsletters, marketing copy to menus — I found the tips and techniques to be practical and playful.

A winning combination in my eyes.

5 Tips to Craft Your Copy

Some of my favorite tips from the book were:

  • Parsing: what are you really trying to say? Write down a list of words that get at the heart of the matter. When I'm writing about my programs and services, words like empowerment, fun, life changing, and sustainable came to mind. Once I knew the key points for my copy, the easier it became to write.
  • Use a thesaurus. This might sound like obvious advice, but I can't even tell you how often I hit up for some synonyms to make my text sing.
  • The sound and feeling of words matter. If you're trying to describe the gerth of something, it's important to use bigger sounding words. Vast, huge, and massive all conjure size through sounds. Just like tiny, peckish, itty, and minute sound small and constricted.
  • Mad-lib it. I am a huge fan of quotes, sayings, and pop-culture references. Song titles are some of my favorite phrases to play with (hello, getting jiggy with...jargon). Being able to take bits and pieces that are familiar, and mix them with your own brand of wit is a great way to get people playing along.
  • Use your wit wisely. No one wants to read copy that's pun after saying after marketing garb. It feels forced and nonsensical. In other words, don't fill your entire blog, newsletter or presentation with nonsense. Use the wit to get people hooked, and then wax poetic with your fabulous content. Not every sentence can be a winner. So don't try to force it.

For more exciting tips, check out the Word Hero site. Heinrichs has a wealth of information to dig through, play with, and show your wordsmithing prowess.