If you have your own business or read business blogs, you have more than likely come across a few questionable terms in headlines. There are a few terms I come across regularly used together. One of them always bothers me when I see it. Why? Because of what it implies.
Most of us read articles based on the headline. That is what we see first and that is usually what jumps out at us after the graphic. When we click on an article, we do so because something intrigued us and made us want to know more. However, most of us scour the Internet looking for solid business advice and ways to improve our businesses.
As a business owner who strives to do right by my clients and strives to gather reliable strategies that work, while not compromising the ethical standards I have set for my business, I am always bothered by the word “trick” used in headlines.
Most of the time you will find this paired with tactics, such as “7 Tricks and Tactics to Win New Clients.” While most people would click on this headline to learn about this without even considering the implications of the title, I always seem to give pause when I see the word “trick.”
Oxford Dictionary’s definition of the word “trick” is:
“A cunning or skillful act or scheme intended to deceive or outwit someone.”
“Trick” clearly means to deceive. The ethical standards that I have set for my business leave no room for deception. I am not looking to deceive or outwit anyone in my business, and I don’t think many business owners are. The way I see it is if a business owner sets out to deceive, there is not much else to say about the business.
The word tactic, however, means “an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end (Oxford Dictionary).” The difference in the meanings of each of these words is drastic. A tactic does not imply deceit, while a trick does. So why, then, do so many people use the term “trick” in their headline?
The answer comes down to the fact that everyone is looking for that magic potion for their business. The term trick alludes to the headline writer knowing a secret that others don’t know about. It plays on the emotion of the business owner making them feel like they are missing out on some magical potions to light a fire in their business. The term “trick” sensationalizes the headline and prompts people to click.
The reality is that none of the articles I have ever read using this term imply deceptive practices. This being said, the term is incorrectly used. Sure there are strategies and tactics used in everything we do to market our businesses, but most business owners do not set out to “trick” potential clients.
While the term “trick” is commonly used, I would encourage business owners to find headline terms that imply solid ethical business practices that will promote a positive image for the business. If you can’t think of a good term, use an online thesaurus.
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