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Writing better content in two steps

Better content means keeping your words on a leash

M

odern content consumers don’t have time to waste. Writing content for these busy bees means keeping it on topic. Don’t have time for a big “best 10” list article? Here are two points that will improve your content.

Short Short Short

Keep paragraphs, sentences, and words short. Paragraphs should be four sentences. Sentences should be twelve words on average. You need to make the whole article 400 words or less.

Don’t mistake “short” for simple. You’re not writing for dumb people, you’re writing for people in a hurry. It’s about capturing attention. People love to read great content and there is a lot out there. Make sure your writing is at the top of the pile.

Talk to the reader

You want people to engage? Talk to them like you’re having a coffee. Talk in the active voice. Don’t go off the point. Don’t use words they won’t understand, technical or jargon. Don’t repeat yourself. These simple ideas can make your written content ultra-readable.

OK, that’s your two steps. What does this do to a typical article? It changes how you plan and how you write each piece of content.

When planning and doing your research, focus in on what’s important. Find the heart of your point and stick close to that theme. What does your reader want to find out? Stick to the promise you made them in the title; tell them what they want to know (and quickly!).

When you write the content focus on the structure. Paragraphs, sentences and words. You need to ensure every word has value. When editing, eye every word as a potential waste of space and cut everything you can.

One word of caution. This style works well for some content,  and not for others. Check out my article on grammar. It’s written to a scholarly theme and a particular type of reader and I set the tone accordingly. As a freelance content creator, I have to understand when and where to use each style.

Following this guide gives you a great chance to improve the content you write. Go ahead and give it a go. Oh, and don’t forget to add a call to action, like asking the reader to share if they found it useful. Did you? Go on, give me a share!

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