When it comes to writing quality content it doesn’t matter if it’s sales copy, informative writing or random musings on a blog, it should be easy reading! Reading online shouldn’t be a tedious task.
Personally, if an article (no matter how interesting its title) starts like a rocket science manual, I’m out of there! By all means, switch up your vocabulary! I hate to read posts where a blogger doesn’t know a different word word for ‘awesome!’ But stretching out a word count by fluffing up the content is annoying.
Concise content makes for quick reading, ideal for the busy workaholic society we live in.
But…but longer content tends to rank better right??
But you should know, I’m exaggerating with the title of this post, in complaining about ten words where one will do.
What I am getting at is that bloviating and using big words to fill up space does not correlate with better rankings.
If possible don’t be a writer who uses two words in place of one.
Of course I am not saying that you just cut out all of the fun and colorful words you can add to make an amazing sentence…would make for bland writing. But there is a fine line between ‘concise’ and ‘bland’ content.
So…want some examples?
Unnecessary adverbs and adjectives
There’s a time and a place for adjectives and sometimes they just sound out of place and long winded when read out loud.
“Verbosity kills curiosity. Don’t drown your message in a sea of words.” – Brad Shor of Straight North
Take the sentence, “He was an incredibly intelligent fellow but had an extreme lack of common sense.” When read out loud is lacks punch and crispness. A revision to, “He was an intelligent fellow, though lacked common sense,” is easier reading. That’s a 14 words vs. nine words.
If you’re writing an article on a President’s proposed health reforms, you would want to let your readers know what the changes are, how they would be affected by the changes and the obstacles the President faces. While it’s easy to wander off on a tangent at times, writing about their educational background or going into too much depth over the history of health in the US fluffs the article up and takes away from its point.
After writing, read out loud and be critical. Ask yourself what the point of each sentence is and if you can’t find a purpose of a sentence, delete!
“For sale: baby shoes, never worn” Sentences should be long enough to communicate and no longer.
Sometimes we repeat ourselves without even realizing we’ve done it! Even if you’ve worded it differently, the same point or fact made twice (even at opposite ends of an article) is just more words than necessary!
Don’t forget WHY you are writing the content in the first place!
To most companies with a blog: write less. Write better shit! No one cares about 300 words of corporate pablum 3x a week.
— Jason Channell (@El_Fenix) March 17, 2017
As fresh content” or just a byproduct of consistent messaging aimed at businesses to “produce quality content”. But the reality is that content has to be WORTH saying! Content for contents sake is a quick way to make your blog into an exercise in futility and no matter how much you work on your copy it will be a much harder process if you don’t actually have anything to say!
Squeeze Out More Words
Once you’ve cleared out everything you think you can, read through again (preferably out loud). Look for opportunities to tighten up your sentences in ways not described above. An example could be changing:
“Whenever the Jones family got news pets, the neighbour’s children always tended to take to them quicker than the Jones boys,” to
“The next door neighbour’s children always took to the Jones’ new pets quicker than the Jones boys did.”
Need some more pointers? Demian Farnworth of Copybot is a fantastic resource I reference for tips on writing blog content people will actually read.
“Focus your writing on your readers. Serve them with it. Answer their questions. Meet their needs. Help them do something.
Practically speaking, use second-person pronouns — e.g., you, your, and yours. This pivot in your writing will create a more personal touch with your readers”
I know I’ve barked on about concise content here, but this should never come at the expense of meaning. The idea of concise content is saying what you need to say as tightly as possible – not about cutting points out in order to shorten a piece. Think punchy, crisp and natural sounding content and you’re well on your way to great copy.