The Copy Corner: Keep Your Content Concise

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When is casual writing okay?

There’s nothing worse than spending precious time writing content only to lose readers because you’re long-winded. So don’t let that happen. Keep your content concise and keep your readers coming back for more.

How can I keep my content concise?

Remove Run-on Sentences

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about run-on sentences and how to fix them. Just removing those sentences will make your content flow better.

Pro-tip: Read your sentences aloud. Are you out of breath by the end? If so, rewrite it. If I find myself pausing too many times for commas or semicolons, I always rewrite my sentences.

Eliminate Unnecessary Words

Using unnecessary words is a bad habit many of us picked up in high school or college. You need an extra 50 words to meet the word count for your essay so you change to to in order to. Or you say something like, The reason is because… Most people don’t realize it, but, The reason is because is redundant. The reason is and because mean the same thing. In order to is the same thing as to.

Eliminating that can make your content more concise too. You might not realize it, but it adds up.

Pro-tip: Always use active voice. You’ll usually use fewer words and your content will flow — and sound — better.

Simpler is Better

You aren’t writing a research paper. You don’t need to write cervical radiculopathy when you mean pinched nerve. Adapt your content to your audience instead of adapting your audience to your content.

Pro-tip: Use the Fog Index to determine how accessible your content is.

Don’t Use Adverbs

Your content does not need adverbs. If you say something is important, your readers will understand its importance without you saying it’s really important. Writing important usually has the same effect.

You could also explain why something is really important to your readers. Consider the following:

“It is really important to speak with an attorney before giving an insurance adjuster a recorded statement.” Okay, why?

Write something like: “If you speak with an insurance adjuster before discussing your case with us, you might say something to jeopardize your settlement and leave you with nothing.” There are more words in that sentence, but those words make your content more valuable to your reader.

Pro-tip: When you review your content, look for words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs, e.g., really. If you see any, get rid of them.

Proofread

Always proofread; after that, have someone else proofread it. Ask if there are any sections you can improve upon or tighten up.

Pro-tip: Wait a few hours before you proofread so you can look at your content with fresh eyes.

Practice

This won’t happen overnight. Many of these habits are hard to break. But don’t give up. Just keep practicing; your readers and your business will appreciate it.

For help with content writing, call us: 888-521-3880.