I’m sure by now anyone who’s read the blog knows that I tend to take a while to get to the point when talking about content marketing. I think most of us, when writing for ourselves free from the constraints of editors and clients, tend to go on and on. Especially on subjects we enjoy talking about.
This is bad. Remember, you’re going to either keep or lose most of your audience in the first few sentences. If you don’t have something punchy and magnetic in the first line, people aren’t going to keep reading.
So, I am publicly taking a vow of brevity on this blog. No more rambling preambles and 3 paragraph set-ups. Well, at least not after this post. So how do you cut down your writing till all the fat is gone and you’re left with nothing but a filet mignon of delicious copy?
- Eliminate Passive Voice: Orwell makes a great point in his essay Politics and the English Language: no one want to read ” … which nothing could induce him to tolerate.” Write directly, and watch the words disappear. “He couldn’t tolerate it”. There.
- Adverbs, Adjectives, and Over-description: Certain novelists spent pages describing a white whale. Others wrote good literature. Don’t get caught in the trap of sticking too many descriptors onto an object or action. Give your readers enough information to know what’s going on and no more.
- Know Your Audience: Seems like this little all-around tid-bit won’t help with brevity, right? Wrong. Knowing your audience is key when determining how much information they want and how in depth you need to go. Writing a technical piece for a tech-savvy audience gives you the freedom to use industry terms and shorthand. Writing that same piece for laypeople might require extensive definition and explanation.
- Define Your Goal BEFORE Starting: This is something I’m guilty of breaking quite often in my personal writing. I begin writing as soon as I have a tiny kernel of an idea, and as it grows the writing gets out of hand, convoluted, and lengthy. Identify the key takeaway for your content marketing piece before you set fingers to keyboard and your writing will be clearer and more effective.
- Be Willing to Walk Away: Sometimes a piece just wasn’t meant to be. If you find yourself 500 words in and a clear piece of content has yet to develop, it might be better to simply delete everything and start from scratch. It’s certainly easier than editing a 1000 word rant.
So as I embark to be a more concise and meaningful writer on this, my half-personal/half-company blog, I invite every single online content marketing expert to join me and stop posting meaningless buckets of logarrhea. Be short. Be sweet. Be persuasive.
NOTE: For anyone interested, we are changing our blog update schedule. No more will we force you, our loyal readers to wait until Thursday to receive the latest in our musings on content marketing and all things written. We are embarking on an epic undertaking to post a new blog entry every single day. Every! Single! Day! You can take that to the bank.