As marketers we write a lot. And a lot of crap. We use (or more like overuse) words such as community, service, people, great, rates, free, etc. As I mentioned in a previous post, we need to cut the copy.

But how do you know if the copy you actually write is spot on or just a bunch of vague words sure to make consumers feel you are blowing smoke? You can test your copy with the “BlaBla Meter.” You simply copy your text into a box on the website and check your writing style. It works with text up to 15,000 characters. The site recommends a minimum length of five sentences.

When writing your website copy, newsletter articles, direct mail pieces, long mission statements or any marketing piece you can just plug in your text and receive your rating. The site will actually give you a BS Index score (the higher the score, the more BS).

Just for grins, I went to a few financial institution websites, copied some of their text and pasted it into the BlaBlaMeter. Here are a few of the scores and the BlaBlaMeter’s comments:

A Nearby Community Credit Union’s Home Page (BS Index: 0.42)

“Something is getting a bit fishy. You probably want to sell something, or you’re trying to impress somebody. It still may be an acceptable result for a scientific text.”

Bank of America’s Mobile Deposit Check Deposit Page (BS Index: 0.37)

“Your text shows indications of ‘bs’-English. It’s still ok for PR or advertising purposes, but more critical audiences may be skeptical.”

Local Community Bank’s About Us Page (BS Index: 0.1)

“Your text shows a few indications of ‘bs’-English.”

The main critique I have about the site is that it requires a minimum of 20 words with at least three sentences. So you can’t put in a tagline or short vision/mission statement. But for all other copy it’s a nice tool to use (although it gives no indication on what criteria or algorithm it uses).

So the next time you craft your marketing words, run it through the BlaBlaMeter. The results might surprise you.

Note: I heard about the BlaBlaMeter from Barry Callen’s opening session for CUNA’s 2013 Marketing Management School, “Top 10 Mistakes Marketers Make.”