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Suck at Writing Quality Content…?

Suck at Writing Quality Content…?

1. Use real words.

Is your website or blog littered with revolutionary, value-added, impactful, cutting-edge, best-of-breed, mission-critical words designed to leverage and synergize the current paradigm? Words like that are the chemical additives of business writing: Maybe one or two used sparingly won’t matter much, but too many will poison your content. Forget the buzzwords, and say what you really mean.

2. Avoid frankenwords, weblish and words pretending to be something they’re not.

Frankenwords are words weirdly bolted together to create stiff, bizarre versions of themselves, typically ending in -ize or -ism or -istic (incentivize, bucketize). Avoid nouns masquerading as verbs (workshopping, journaling) and verbs masquerading as nouns (learnings). And definitely avoid weblish like k, thx, and ur welcome.

Read: Create Content Your Readers Will Enjoy

3. Use your active voice.

The passive voice isn’t technically incorrect, but it tends to sound stilted and awkward. You’ll vastly improve your writing by making your verbs active. Active sounds zippier and more alive.

So, instead of “The video was edited by a guy named Hibachi,” try “A guy named Hibachi edited the video.” A simple but surprisingly effective change.

4. Ditch weakling verbs for more descriptive ones.

Bold action words will breathe life into your writing. Avoid generic phrases; use expressive language that paints a vivid picture in the reader’s mind.

Read: Can’t Keep Your Reader’s Engaged…? Here’s What Will

Instead of “It might seem like a good idea, but it’s probably not in good taste to put a QR code on a tombstone,” try “It might seem like a good idea, but it’s probably not in good taste to etch a QR code on your loved one’s tombstone.”

5. Lose adverbs, except when they enhance meaning.

Most writers use adverbs gratuitously, tossing them in when they add nothing. In the previous sentence, the adverb gratuitously is necessary, because it tells you how most writers use adverbs. Without it, the sentence reads “Most writers use adverbs.” Well, duh.

6. Use clichés only once in a blue moon.

Sometimes, clichés can offer a quick reference or shorthand (on the same page). But too many can make you sound just like everyone else– which is exactly the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

7. Trim your words.

Say things simply, with empathy for the reader. The use of more words does not really help you sound more smart. On the contrary, it contributes to content obesity. Lol. So, instead of “in order to,” say “to.” Instead of “ways by which,” use “ways.” Trim “despite the fact that” to “although.”

8. Break some grammar rules.

It’s OK to start a sentence with “And,” “But” or “Because.” It’s OK to write a single-word sentence. And a one-sentence paragraph? Why not? We can safely break some rules we learned in school and when doing so, it adds energy and momentum to our writing. Grammar does matter. But readability, personality and emphasis matter, too!

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65 thoughts on “Suck at Writing Quality Content…?”

  1. I used to spend hours trying to start a blog post because I couldn’t decide how I wanted my content to read. I was trying too hard and thinking about it way too much. In the end I gave up and started writing how i spoke and naturally things started to flow better and I was happy with my content – because I was being me!

    Raj
    http://www.sheluxefit.wordpress.com

      1. Totally agree.. I follow the minimalists and they suggest a similar thing of getting what you want to say down on paper/screen first and then polish and refine til you’re content.

  2. Ah, passive voice, my nemesis! And long, complex sentences, I have a love affair with those that needs to end. (Though I’m quite proud of being able to fit a whole paragraph into a single, well-phrased sentence that’s both minimal in its number of words, yet contains all necessary information. >_>)

    1. Oh man you and me both, sometimes ideas (or emotions for me) can only really be explained by complex eternal sentences! My strategy is to write however the hell I want during the drafting phase with not a care in the world, and then have an editor help me neaten it up later

  3. good ones, i stopped writing for sometimes cause i want my writings to be perfect but i discovered you just keep learning everyday and now i’m getting towards being perfect

  4. Cliches – “Can’t live with ’em can’t live without ’em.” It’s helpful to have well known phrases/descriptions on occasion to help relate and capture what many readers might be thinking… But crucial to avoid the impression that you can’t create or describe something in a novel and original way.

  5. Can’t stress enough about the last point! Personality plays a big role, so don’t be afraid to break grammar rules once in a while! As a copywriter, I salute you. This is a wonderful post 🙂

  6. That’s so true, I see myself doing those mistakes ?? But thank you so much, it’s really helpful, especially for beginners like me!! ? Still have a lot to work on.

  7. Seriously, all these tips never end, yet writing never gets easier. I guess simplicity and originality is the key, whether that serves it or not. I write as I feel, someone would love it no matter what. So, I’m at peace with myself. Helpful tips though. Thumbs up!

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