In the world of internet marketing, we know that content is king. But not all content is created equally. Though some web marketing companies release blogs, articles, and web pages that warrant this royal title, others make their readers want to commit regicide. This brief writing guide will help you clean up your content, engage audiences, and express your brand message exactly as intended. Read on to learn 3 writing tips from our content marketing team.
1. Practice Brevity
“I’m the dude, so that’s what you call me. That or, uh His Dudeness, or uh Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.” – The Dude
If your content is going to grip readers, you need to “get into the whole brevity thing.” Brevity is defined as the “concise and exact use of words in writing or speech.” It’s what authors of fiction strive for when they set out to write “tight prose.” No wasted words; all killer, no filler.
Brevity improves the value and readability of your content. A 500-word article written by somebody who practices brevity will automatically have more substance than one published by a long-winded writer. Long, verbose sentences are rarely effectively. They confuse and bore the reader, distracting them from the point you were trying to make and stripping power from your calls-to-action.
If you’re familiar with Yoast SEO plugins, you’ve probably heard of the “Flesch reading ease score.” Flesch reading ease measures the textual difficulty of your content. The higher the score, the more readable your content is. Writing is rewarded for short sentences and words with less than two syllables. This tool can help you assess how well you’ve practiced brevity, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on.
The best tools will always be your own eyes. Here are some examples you can use to sharpen your brevity skills. The unnecessary words are in bold:
- “The bucket slowly made its downward descent into the well.”
- “The waiter apologized for the unintended mistake in their order.”
- “I moved the sofa to the empty space on the other side of the room.”
- “The three-day weekend gave her a temporary reprieve from work.”
The words in bold add nothing to these sentences; “reprieves” are temporary, “descents” are always downward, and “mistakes” are always unintended. Don’t make your reader jump through verbal hoops without any payoff. Keep these examples in mind as you proofread your own writing.
2. Finish Sentences Strong
When you’re telling a good joke, you’d never lead with the punchline. And yet, this is something many content writers are guilty of. They load their sentences in the wrong order, leading with the punchline and then filling in the gaps. These front-heavy phrases go out with a fizzle, rather than ending with a bang. A simple change of order can make all the difference.
Here’s an example that’s pertinent for web marketing companies.
Don’t tell your readers that “you can easily increase your search visibility and improve your bottom line by optimizing your meta tags.” This sentence forces the reader to ingest a lot of words without knowing what you’re talking about.
Instead, swap the order: “Optimizing your meta tags is an easy way to increase your search visibility and improve your bottom line.” Now, we know the sentence’s topic from the beginning, and it ends on high note. The meaning is clear and the reader is excited about the possibilities.
3. Vary Sentence Length
Falling into repetitive sentence rhythms is one of the most common mistakes content writers make. When all of your sentences are the same length, the reader starts to tune you out. It’s like a drummer playing in straight 4/4 time compared to a jazz beat that morphs and syncopates – the latter is much more engaging.
Shorts sentences are impactful. But long sentences have their charm, too; they lead your reader on a (hopefully) rewarding journey through your piece. Your content can really sing if you use them in conjunction.
This tip is very easy to implement. Count how many words you use per sentence in any given paragraph. If you notice that the numbers are very similar, it’s time to practice some variety. Craft sentences with a mix of short, medium, and long word counts to maximize the impact and readability of your copy.
To be continued…
These 3 tips will be wonders for your writing, but we’ve only just begun! Check back later this month for part 2 of our content writing clinic.
To learn more our content marketing strategy, click here or call (416)-619-7935.