A Simple Hack for More Effective Writing
Updated: Sep 1
As marketers, we all struggle at one point or another to create impact when writing content marketing pieces, sales letters, email messages, social media copy and blogs. We want to make sure our statements have meaning. We want every sentence to build a case for our products or services. And we want to persuade readers to follow our call-to-action.
But in trying to accomplish all these goals, your copy can become bloated. All of a sudden that clear idea that was top of mind is gone. Long sentences become an echo of the obvious and a waste of words. You start spinning your wheels and get stuck.
Don’t get discouraged! We have a simple hack that will instantly make your writing more powerful. It’s this: Take out unnecessary words.
By removing unnecessary, repetitive or meaningless words you will immediately strengthen the message you are trying to share. Removing words creates simplicity - and simplicity in messaging is effective. In fact, extra words undermine your success because they weaken the message you are trying to convey.
Here are some examples:
Really, very, just, that. None of these words will add emphasis, clarity or value. Think hard about what you are trying to say and see if you can remove the ambiguity by being specific.
Thing, it. These are nebulous at best. Instead, try replacing them with more details about whatever you are trying to communicate.
"-ly” adverbs. Instead try using a more robust verb. For example, rather than saying “I am running quickly,” say “I am sprinting."
Some. The definition of "some" is: "an unspecified amount or number of". By its very definition, "some" is vague. Vague writing is ineffective. Be precise and include particulars in your description. Oh, and avoid "some's" cousins: something, someone, somewhere, somehow....
Adjectives. Adjectives describe a noun. Selecting one adjective is a much more persuasive way of describing a product or service than using two or three. And too many adjectives can suggest exaggeration and make you seem less credible.
By removing unnecessary, repetitive or meaningless words you will immediately strengthen the message you are trying to share.
Be ruthless and evaluate every word. In most cases, you will be able to find a way to revise sentences to edit out those space stealers. This will allow you to get maximum impact from your text and to make sure each statement is purposeful and adds value to your message.
It’s certainly more work to write simple sentences than it is to write long ones, but the results are worth it. Simpler, leaner copy is stronger, clearer and will provide you with better results.
What words are you going to remove?