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16 Techniques and Exercises to Make Your Writing Punchy and Concise

How to Make your Writing Punchy:

  1. Strike Adverbs and Adjectives First
  2. Have a Plan
  3. Go Bold
  4. Make Sentences Short
  5. Avoid Cliches and Common Phrases
  6. Use Quick Analogies
  7. Remove Lazy Words
  8. Employ One Voice
  9. Make it Personal
  10. State an Opinion
  11. Be Sentimental
  12. Write a Great Headline
  13. Comment on Trends and Pop Culture
  14. Always Apply CURVE

A great blog article is concise and compelling, punchy writing today is not a luxury, but a necessity. 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.  The pre-internet writing rules no longer apply. Wasted words, boring sentence structure, and walls of text need to be strictly edited so only the most important information remains.

Why is Punchy Writing Necessary for Good Content?

 

It turns out that your high school English teacher was right about one thing - you need to write well. Between the content assaulting your reader like Persian arrows (they blot out the sun), and shrinking attention spans, writers who can deliver a message concisely reign supreme.

Want your own writing to keep readers hooked?

Team artful editing with fascinating content to cut through the clutter and mesmerize your audience. Below are tips and techniques you can apply to make your own writing interesting, punchy, and concise.

How to Write More Engaging Content

1. Strike Adverbs and Adjectives First

Adverbs and adjectives are the tools of a lazy writer. These words rely on weak writing and boring verbs.

Take a look at this example.

"The heavy stone sank quickly."

Vs.

"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. If you're trying to write punchy sentences, use power words.

2. Have a Plan

To produce effective content, you must have a content strategy for growth. Make an outline for your article and expand on it. Stick to the outline to avoid topic tangents that lead you and your potential reader astray.

In their efforts to get their point across, writers often include redundant sentences. Watch for duplicates in your own 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. Writing short paragraphs, bolding, and italics visually keeps the reader engaged and allows them to progress unchallenged.

4. Make Sentences Short

Choppy writing may have gotten bad grades in English class, but in the blogosphere, writing short sentences keeps the reader's momentum. 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. Fewer words equal easier understanding.

5. Avoid Cliches and Common Phrases

If you spot a cliche or over-used phrase in your writing, re-write it. Bookmark this list of 681 overused cliches and common phrases to avoid.

6. Use Quick Analogies

Your article doesn't need to be a novel. You need to use storytelling, but fewer words are your friend here. Have you ever had to patiently wait as a salesperson worked through a never-ending sales pitch, thinking, "Just let me buy my stuff"? If your 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.

  • Just
  • That
  • The Verb "to be"
  • The Verb "went"
  • Very
  • Some
  • Thing

8. Employ One Voice

The voice is the personality of your brand. Choose your voice and stick to it. Establishing a familiar sequence and voice will keep your branding consistent.

 

9. Make it Personal

You've established a voice that communicates your brand. Now engage your readers. Ask your readers questions about what they value, what they wonder. Open avenues of communication in social media 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 the reason you hold your stance.  Trying to write for everyone is one of the most common and boring mistakes that content writers can make.

11. Be Sentimental

Pre-internet writing rules advise avoiding 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, storytelling, and personal history offers the reader a deeper connection to the writer and brand.

12. 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.

13. Comment on Trends and Pop Culture

If your reader cares, you should too. Commenting on breaking news, trending topics, and cultural phenomena 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.

14. 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...

  • Curiosity
  • Urgency
  • Relevance
  • Value
  • Emotion

Ready to Make Your Writing Punchy?

Punchy writing 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 a guide to improve your own writing and engage your target audience more effectively.

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