I recently attended a conference. This was a conference for writers about creating content and effectively using SEO practices. Many people asked me to share any gems of wisdom I picked up at this conference, so, as promised, I’d like to share some of my insights.
Spoiler: Content is your most important tool (as long as it’s done well)
While many topics were discussed, the most important concept discussed was removing the superficial junk in content writing. The terms used most often for this is fluff or BS. The question is, how do you remove this fluff from your writing?
It’s easier than it sounds. Use simple language. Get your point across up-front. Make sure people know as soon as possible whether your content is for them. But what does this look like?
What is Fluff Writing?
Fluff is the trivial junk you use to pad your writing. It’s the unnecessary junk you throw in so you have a longer piece of content.
Fluff can take the form of descriptive words. People will use these words to emphasize a point, but often they’re not adding any value to your writing. This includes words like
While you don’t have to remove this every time, you should make sure the word is needed. Can you make the point without a qualifying word? If so, go ahead and leave it out.
Fluff is also using jargon and unnecessarily large words to make the piece sound more professional. This is shorthand between a particular group. Jargon makes people that aren’t in the group feel left out.
This fluffy or BS writing is unnecessary and often frustrating for the reader. The truth is, people just want you to get to the point.
How to Remove the Fluff
One of the people that spoke at the conference was Josh Bernoff. He is the author of the book “Writing Without Bullshit” and writes a blog of the same name.
He shared some examples of press releases and blog articles that used these fluff techniques. These fluffy pieces of content had one thing in common. You had to wade through lots of unimportant crap to get to the point.
Sometimes this is used on purpose. If people don’t want you to understand the point, they might hide it in the middle of the piece in the hopes you never get there.
Other times, people just want to reach a certain word count. In this case you get plenty of padding around the main point. The problem is, you lose people’s interest.
Introduce the Point Up Front
One of the best ways to beat fluff is to introduce your point right away. Start the article out with the point right there in the introduction.
The rest of the article is used to flesh out the point(s) more, but you’ve already made it clear what you’re talking about. This will help people decide if your content is relevant to them up front.
Do a Read-Through
Once you complete an article, make sure you go back through and read it. Look for places where you can cut words. Also, look for places where you strayed from the point.
As you read through the article, cut anything that doesn’t get you to the end goal. Remember, if you struggle through it, someone else will too.
Use Simple Language
Jargon is not useful when it comes to writing articles. People want to understand what you’re talking about. If they don’t know the jargon, they’ll give up.
When it comes to content, simple is best. Use easy-to-understand language. Make the article relatable to other people.
Content Writing is a Force of Its Own
Most of us come from an academic writing background. We learn to pad those papers with as much detail as possible. This doesn’t work with content marketing though.
If you want to create content that people will pay attention to, you need to throw out most of what you learned in academic writing. And authors, you’ll have a learning curve here too.
It’s not about painting a detailed picture. It’s about giving people valuable information. It’s also about giving them that information as quickly as possible.
You’ve probably heard of the KISS method right? Keep It Simple Stupid. While I’m not calling you stupid, I am telling you to keep it simple.
Making Sense of Content
If you’re willing to share valuable information in a simple manner, your content will be more effective. Once you grasp the concept of simple content, you can add to your expertise with other content tricks.
Content is important for any business. Would you like more tips and tricks? Check out the other entrepreneur tips.