On Writing Well is an essential read for anyone who wants to elevate their prose. “Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly,” Zinsser implores. “Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Reexamine each sentence you put on paper. Is every word doing new work?”
Business professionals know that wasted words are especially costly. Content bloat leads to audience abandonment.
Trimming down your writing makes it more punchy and concise. Top wordsmiths in the marketing game, share with content creators:
3 Keys to Concise and Compelling Marketing Copy
Here are some pointers from the experts on conquering them.
#1 – Stringent Word Counts
So many writers are at the mercy of word counts, and it’s a tragedy. We’re told we need to produce at least 1,500 words, so we inject a bunch of unnecessary filler to get there. Does this serve our audience in any way? Hell no.
“700 more words will not help you reach your goals any more than 7 more words. Create content that helps people. Do it efficiently. Never write an ultimate guide where a single image could more powerfully convey the same value. Trust me; your audience and your bottom line will thank you.”
Content length falls below time on site, pages per session, bounce rate, and back links in SEO importance.
In other words, if excessive wordiness is turning readers away, the number doesn’t really matter all that much. Delivering a quality experience is vastly more valuable.
Check out the examples on short success content from IFL Science, courtesy of BuzzSumo.
#2 – Use Every Bit of Space
It might not be a writer’s first instinct, but visualization is a helpful practice. Take a step back and look at your content — how it really appears on the page. Are you making the best use of your digital real estate?
Think of each page on the worldwide web as a finite spider web. You only have so much space, and so much thread, to get your points across. Make it count.
#3 – Banish Buzzwords
You might want to rethink using such words.
Avoid those Marketing words that Content Marketing Institute (CMI)* recently published – 25 words and phrases to avoid.
Stuffing your sentences with fillers — words and phrases that add zero meaning to what you’re trying to say — is not advisable
- In order to
They seem harmless on the surface, barely taking up space. But this is exactly what makes them so insidious. Most often, you can make the exact same point while deleting these words, and you’ll provide a much more crisp and efficient experience for the person on the other end.
When you remove words and no substance is lost, you should trim those words. You’ll save readers a lot of time — and keep them more engaged.
Writing Well Often Means Writing Less
The Final Word
- Forget word counts — maximum or minimum. Write as much as it takes to deliver a satisfying best answer, and no more.
- Be mindful of space on the page. Readers skim through, so a brief summary atop each new piece of content will help them.
- And before you publish, delete every single word which is not conveying your purpose.
Writing is hard work and a clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, revise and improve. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.
Indeed it is. But in the immortal words of Jeff Bezos, “You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” You also earn trust, authority, and — ultimately — business.