The web is saturated with terrible content. It’s full of fluff, unreadable sentences, and tangled ideas.
And, with thousands of blogs trying to sell exactly what you’re selling, you can’t afford to put out less-than-stellar content. You’ll never stand out, and you’ll never create a loyal customer base.
Writing great content is broken into two parts: great info and clear delivery. Great info boils down to doing the research and keeping yourself well-informed. Let’s talk about how to improve your delivery.
The great secret of blog-style writing to today’s Internet audience is to not write masterpieces. If Charles Dickens is your inspiration, stop it! In fact, here’s a great quote:
“‘Classic.’ A book which people praise and don’t read.”
– Mark Twain
Pretty ironic, coming from a man who basically churned out classics, but he’s dead on.
I’m not going to teach you how to win a Pulitzer. In fact, if you follow the guidelines in this article for your manuscript, I guarantee you’ll never win one! But, you’ll have a loyal readership and returning customers.
The next secret to great writing? Anyone can do it with a few simple guidelines. You only need to have a well-designed website, and these tips will help bring the masses.
#1. Break Lots of Grammar Rules
Here’s the deal: your sentences should have a good flow and structure to them, but don’t fret over the details. If you end your sentences with a preposition, that’s not something to worry about. Knowing the difference between ‘who’ or ‘whom’ might get you a better grade on your college paper, but it won’t score you any readers.
In fact, I purposely break rules. I like the word ‘ain’t.’ I never use the word ‘whom’ because I think it sounds a little too haughty for a laid-back type article. I don’t care if it’s proper to say something one way when another sounds way better. Go with your gut, and if you don’t know, just think about what you would say if you were talking to a friend.
#2. Short Words, Short Sentences, Short Paragraphs
There are several reasons to use short words. Your readers can digest your main points easier (how fast can you read through an encyclopedia?) because there won’t be any confusion at all as to what you’re saying. Plus, short words keep you from using complicated words in the wrong way.
Trust me, small words won’t make you sound dumb, but your writing will be clear, concise, and impossible to misunderstand.
For many readers, reading a blog post is all about speed. A winning blog post is one that a reader can scan over in 1 minute and capture a few things useful to them.
With that in mind, keep your sentences and paragraphs short. When I skim over an article, I’ll usually skip from paragraph to paragraph to find main ideas. If you’re post only has 3 huge paragraphs, the typical reader won’t get much from it.
Short sentences also help organize your thoughts and keep the rhythm moving. They are much easier for a time-strapped reader to skim through without having to unravel complex sentences.
#3. Leave Out Extra words
Don’t write like this:
When you leave a whole lot of extra words in every single piece of content that you even think of producing, your each and every thought becomes extremely watered-down and much harder to understand and digest.
Or just say this: Leaving in extra words leads to watered-down content. Much better!
Let’s trust Mark Twain’s expertise one more time:
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”
Often, no words are the best way to go.
#4. Be Enthusiastic! Have Personality!
Most content sounds way to robotic and impersonal! Quit erring on the side of caution, and let loose a little. Your company’s personality helps set you apart, so let it out.
Think about this: when you’re visiting a company website or their Facebook site, would you rather read an article with no personality, or with some fun added?
#5. Use Lists
Yep, following my own advice with this one! Lists provide fast, scannable (I think that’s a made-up word, but I like to break rules, remember?) content and usually give extremely useful tips. Simply put, everyone loves lists.
#6. Use Descriptive Words
Remember, we’re not adding fluffy and useless words. We’re also not using complicated words. Use normal words that people understand, but still inject a little life into your writing. For example, notice a few words I’ve used in this article: inject, consume, watered-down, saturated, time-strapped and tangled. Everyone understands those words, and they’re better than using a boring alternative.
#7. Solve Problems
The importance of this step dwarfs all the other ones combined. People reading your blog posts are people looking for answers. When they find an author that gives them what they’re looking for, the author is immediately looked upon as an expert they can trust. That places you in the prime position to make a sale.
Are there any other writing tips that you’ve used? What was effective? What wasn’t? Let us know below!