mwotw show dont tell

Show, Don’t Tell

Show, Don’t Tell is a golden rule of writing.

Don’t tell me Harry Potter is miserable; show him sleeping in a closet, hiding from his cousin’s fists, and fantasizing about a different life.

Don’t tell me Wonderland is weird and trippy; show me a mouse in a teapot, a caterpillar smoking a hookah, and biscuits that make Alice change size. 

Show, don’t tell is important in marketing, too.

Which is more convincing?

👉 “I have a great sense of humor” vs. I made you laugh the moment you landed on my website.

👉 “Our customers love us” vs. hundreds of five-star reviews on Google.

👉 “We’re easy to work with” vs. one-click to sign up for our service.

👉 “Design matters to us” vs. a clean, consistent, and sophisticated visual brand.

👉 “We care about our customers” vs. customer-focused writing that has people saying, “omg, that’s so me.”

When I help people write websites and emails, we look for ways to SHOW what matters.

How could you show, not tell today?

Visually yours,


PS – The StoryBrand messaging framework is the best shortcut I know to show your customers you’re thinking about them. This 24-minute podcast has a great overview. Or to really dive in, grab a 7-day  free trial of Business Made Simple University (normally $275 a year; if you buy it, I get a commission) and watch the “StoryBrand Messaging Framework” course (it’s under Marketing).  🙌

This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.

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