I just received my newsletter from a small local agency called High Point Creative. One of the topics featured is "Writing for the Web" and I thought there were some good nuggets to share. I'm sure you have heard this before about writing tighter, in shorter blurbs, and making copy easy to scan. Nevertheless, I don't think it hurts to repeat the concepts. I know I easily fall into the trap of verboseness and am constantly challenging myself to write succinctly.
P.S. Check out Gerry McGovern's Links are New Yorkers
Business writing, like life, is better kept simple. From web content to sales presentations, the fewer the words, the stronger your message. Today, when people are more likely to scan than read, your words have to pop with purpose. Each well-chosen word has to compel your impatient reader to click or call ... to buy or believe. In short, when you want to amplify, simplify.
Good writing serves your readers well and gets to the point quickly and clearly. But how do you write simply and powerfully? Here are four tips.
1. Jump right in. Take a page from fiction writers - start right where the action is. No need for long explanations and backstory. Instead of, "There is another topic to cover here..." simply go with "Our next topic is year-end revenue projections."
2. Choose your words wisely. Make sure the language fits your audience. If you are writing for doctors or researchers, highly technical words can be the right choice. If you are writing for a general audience, you don't have to dumb it down, but pick shorter or familiar words that get right to the point.
3. Remove the passive voice. Look for sentence construction using "is" and "was." For example, "The employee was acknowledged by her boss for excellent work." Tighten it up by focusing on the people instead of the action. "The boss acknowledged the employee's excellent work."
4. Cut unnecessary words. By removing excessive modifiers like "very," "a lot," "somewhat" or "too," you can streamline your writing. Cut vague words like "area," "thing" or "aspect." And of course, avoid redundancy. "At this point in time" is "now."
And a bonus tip...if you have the time, put your writing aside, then come back to review it later. You'll find it easier to edit with fresh eyes. If you don't have time, ask someone to do a quick review for you.