Keeping Your Writing Fresh: 4 Tips
Writing fresh content isn’t as complicated as some writers make it out to be. In fact, in most cases simple writing expresses the idea in a clearer, more concise, and even more interesting way than a bunch of fancy mumble-jumble.
Keep it Simple
Vague qualifiers, long prepositional phrases, clichés, and jargon can clutter sentences, making the main idea difficult to discover. Such sentences bog down the reader. Specific nouns and active verbs are the best words to choose to keep your writing fresh.
The average American reads at the seventh- or eighth-grade level, yet many writers produce prose at a much higher reading level, often throwing in big words. Instead of impressing the reader, this writing style typically has the opposite effect. Readers become frustrated and either skim the piece or even stop reading.
A writing coach I know suggests to her clients to practice writing using words with just one syllable. Picture a scene or an event you’re familiar with and describe it using one-syllable words. It’s an excellent exercise in creative writing.
Keep it Short
In addition to using short words, another quality of fresh writing is the use of short sentences and short paragraphs. Gone are the days where each paragraph required a minimum number of sentences. Some writers emphasize a single thought or even a single word by placing it in its own paragraph.
Short sentences can quicken the pace of your writing. Novelists use this technique. Longer, wordier sentences can be used when you wish to slow the pace down, but don’t drag it on for too long or the reader will get bored. The typical modern reader has a short attention span.
The proper length of a blog post has been discussed ad nauseum. Mine typically range between 300 and 700 words, but I try to keep mine as close to 500 words as possible.
Keep it Relevant
Most of us grew up with the writing mantra, “One main idea per sentence.” When creating content for the web, it’s also best to maintain one main idea per post. Some bloggers drag their readers along pig trails and tangents. This confuses readers.
Start your post with a catchy headline, begin the piece with an interesting lead, and wrap it all up with a tidy conclusion and call to action at the end. A blog post, like any other composition, needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. All on the same topic.
Make it Easy
People are in a perpetual hurry. And as much as we writers would hope readers flock to our words because of us, most audiences read with a “what’s in it for me” attitude. They are seeking solutions to their problems.
Write a title and lead that immediately lets the reader know your article’s take-away value. This will enable your reader to quickly decide whether or not to read your post, saving them time if they choose not to do so. But they will appreciate your consideration of their schedule and will likely return to your site.
Keep your site as well as your content easy. A good way to increase your rate of return visitors is to use an easy site navigation system with a pleasant color scheme. Good contrast between the font and background colors is a must. Black type on a white background is always a good choice.
There are many other ways to keep your writing fresh, but space prohibits me from listing them here. To learn more, sign up for the FREE Creating Compelling Content mini-course.
Linda Fulkerson is a blog coach, online marketing specialist, and award-winning photographer. She presents workshops on Blogging, Social Media, and Online Promotion.