14 Techniques and Exercises to Make Your Writing Punchy and Concise
Julie is a content creator and Inbound certified marketer for Lean Labs. She has a BBA and MBA with a marketing specialization and has been concentrating on Inbound Marketing for the last 4 years. Julie lives in the midwest but loves the mountains and typically travels with her husband, two kids and the best dog ever, Lucy.
A great content piece is punchy, concise and compelling. You've only got the readers attention for a few seconds, and even the most interested can't help but be easily distracted by pinging texts and full email inboxes.
A writer needs to make the most of this short window of opportunity. Wasted words, boring sentence structure and walls of text need to be strictly edited so only the most important information remains.
Want to write blog posts that keep readers hooked?
Team artful editing with fascinating content. Below are tips and techniques you can apply that make your writing interesting and concise.
Tips for Editing Online Content
1. Strike Adverbs and Adjectives First
Adverbs and adjectives are the tool of a lazy writer. These words rely on weak writing and boring verbs.
Take a look at this example.
"The heavy stone sank quickly."
"Splash! The boulder disappeared."
Your reader doesn't need to be told this obvious information. The adjective heavy and adverb "quickly" are both redundant and dull.
2. Have a Plan
Rely on organization. Make an outline for your article and expand on it in the article. Stick to the outline to avoid topic tangents that lead you and the reader astray.
In valiant efforts to get their point across, writers often include redundant sentences. Watch for duplicates in your writing. Delete one and concentrate on making the original smart and focused.
3. Go Bold
Break it up. Don't adhere to old fashioned paragraph structure. Follow an outline style of writing, with lots of headers and sub-headers. The use of short paragraphs, bolding, and italics visually keep the reader engaged and allows them to progress unchallenged.
4. Make Sentences Short
During the editing process, if any words can be removed from a sentence without altering the meaning or clarity of the sentence they should be.
5. Avoid Cliches and Common Phrases
If you spot a cliche or over-used phrase in your writing, a re-write should occur. Bookmark this list of 681 over used cliches and common phrases to avoid.
6. Use Quick Analogies
Your article doesn't need to be a novel. Have you ever had to patiently wait as a sales person worked through a never ending sales pitch, thinking, "Just let me buy my stuff." If you analogy is too long winded, you risk losing your reader.
7. Remove Lazy Words
Lazy words are overused and don't deliver. The words list below can almost always be edited out or replaced with a word that packs more punch.
- The Verb "to be"
- The Verb "went"
8. Employ One Voice
The voice is the personality of your brand. Choose your voice and stick to it. This consistency will appeal to your reader and help keep your writing in check.
9. Make it Personal
You've established a voice that communicates your brand. Now engage your readers. Ask your readers opinions and questions about what they value, what they wonder. Open avenues of communication in social media and comments and use that information to respond to them in your writing.
10. State an Opinion
Want to grab someone's attention? State an opinion. And make it a strong one. Readers on both sides of the argument will want to learn why you are taking that stance.
11. Be Sentimental
Pre-internet writing rules advise to avoid sentimentality. But your goal is to win over your reader and make them like you. To do that, you need to reach them emotionally and make a connection. Including emotion, story telling, and personal history offers them a deeper connection to the writer and brand.
14. Write a Great Headline
If you can't get them on the hook, you'll never reel them in. Yes, that's a cliche but it fits. If you can't snag their attention to your article, why bother working so hard on great content. Read this article on how to write great headlines.
15. Comment on Trends and Pop Culture
If you're reader cares, you should too. Commenting on breaking news, trending topics, and cultural phenomenon translates to engaged readers. They want to know your take on the stories and events happening in their lives. Blog topics such as, "Our Take On..." or "My Thoughts About" are intriguing and demand a look.
16. Always Apply CURVE
The Curve method is a technique that verifies value in your writing. We recommend you validate at least two of the five elements in each article. CURVE stands for...
Ready to Write?
Great content is easily digestible and can be consumed by the reader quickly with understanding and interest. Create this content by committing to steadfast editing of content that compels the reader to continue reading.
Follow the tips and techniques above as guide to new readers and an engaged community.