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In a previous post, “How to be Clear and Concise“, I outlined a few ways to make text shorter, punchier and more engaging. Here are a few more.

    1. Get to know your audience. Read their magazines and blogs. Learn to “speak their language” and write in the style they’re accustomed to.
    2. Long or exotic words are more likely to annoy than impress your readers. So don’t try to show off your vocabulary. Use friendly, everyday, conversational language.
    3. Keep things positive. Rather than using scare tactics, inspire readers by highlighting the great things your product will do for them.

  1. Tell a story. Build a rapport, demonstrate to your readers that you’re “just like them”. Show empathy, feel their pain.
  2. Mercilessly cut unnecessary and redundant words.
  3. Keep sentences short. Aim for an average of 12 – 18 words per sentence.
  4. If all your sentences are about the same length, your writing will sound monotonous. So vary the length of your sentences. Like this. Note how it adds a captivating rhythm and cadence.
  5. Keep paragraphs to a single thought, and limit them to 4 or 5 sentences. Don’t be afraid to use very short — even one-sentence — paragraphs on occasion.
  6. Use subheads to break up your text and keep readers oriented.
  7. Use bullet points. They promote clarity by:
    • Making your text scannable
    • Presenting information in easily-digestible chunks

 

One final hint: Early on, ask a simple question your readers will answer “yes” to. Once you’ve got them agreeing with you, they’ll be much more likely to keep reading… and to agree with you later!

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