The movie clip that is clearly advertising some sort of drink ends up promoting a make of cellphone. Or the gripping little video showing a cute toddler and a rescue dog is really trying to get me to buy a bar of chocolate. Their taglines are not clear, if they are even present.
Until 2010, I had never even heard of a tagline. Then I attended a continuing workshop at the Florida Christian Writers Conference. The workshop leader was Laura Christianson of the Blogging Bistro. She led us through a series of exercises in an attempt to establish a "tagline" for our writing.
"A tagline is a slogan that succinctly, memorably, and descriptively sums up a company or product." (Thanks to Wisegeek.com for this definition.) So as a writer, I needed a slogan that would sum up my writing.
Hmm. Not so easy.
I learned a lot about myself during Laura's series of workshops, but I left without a tagline. It wasn't Laura's fault. My problem was that I seemed to have several genres.
- I write to encourage writers.
- I write inspirational material.
- I write devotional material.
- And as a cancer survivor I write to encourage those in the valley of cancer.
Some weeks after the conference, I realised what had been looking me in the face all the way through those exercises. I live to encourage and inspire others who are struggling in some way. Even as a youngster at school, I inevitably befriended the kid that had no other friends. I didn't write in a variety of genres at all. I wrote articles to inspire and encourage.
I searched for a definition of a tagline for writers and came across this one on a forum, which I have slightly modified: A tagline is a concise statement of your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It is a short slogan that tells what you do, what benefit you offer, and what makes you different, all at the same time."
And so I looked at
- what I did (I wrote. I encouraged. I inspired.)
- what benefit I had to offer. (I encouraged and inspired people.)
- what made me different. (I am a writer, a cancer survivor, and a Christian who wants to encourage.)
How has this helped me? I now have one newsletter: The Write to Inspire. Although I still have two websites they have a common goal. ShirleyCorder.com is to inspire and encourage writers, while RiseAndSoar.com is to inspire and encourage those in the cancer valley. The tag is not perfect, and I'm sure it will develop as the years go by. But at least it tells people who I am.
Some taglines are more catchy than others. Even Coke, surely one of the experts in the field of catchy slogans, changes theirs often. Remember "Coke is It!"? That dates back to 1981. "Things go better with Coca Cola" goes back even further—to 1963! Every year or two, the manufacturers of this drink come up with a new tagline. But I have to say this for them. I always understand what they're advertising.
OVER TO YOU: Do you have a tagline?
- If you do, please share it here.
- And if you don't? Maybe work through those three points above and see if you can come up with one. Share it and if you like invite comments and suggestions.
- Next month, same time (April 20) same place we'll look at some taglines that work really well, and see what we can learn from them. Maybe we can all improve our current tags.
SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband, Rob. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer contains 90 meditations based on her sojourn in the cancer valley.