“Write to express, not impress,” advises Mary Cullen in 87 Advanced Business Writing Tips That Actually Work. “Your goal is to easily transmit ideas and information, not to flaunt a big vocabulary,” she says.
Blog content writers should find these three tips particularly apropos:
1. “Be certain your paragraphs aren’t longer than seven lines (lines, not sentences). Any longer than that and readability studies show that your readers just see a big block of text and jump over it,” Cullen warns. At Say It For You, I call that a “wall of text” – off-putting to searchers, who tend to be content scanners with little patience for “wall-scaling”. At the same time, bunches of short paragraphs can be distracting. What’s more, if all the sentences and paragraphs in a blog post are approximately the same length, you run the risk of boring your readers.
2. “Use clear words rather than emphasis punctuation, Cullen cautions. “ Exclamation points are often used in business writing to generate enthusiasm when the real problem is imprecise information,” she observes. Maybe. In blog posts, I’ve found, it can be important to “exclaim”, given the tendency for online searchers to only briefly eyeball the blog content. Punctuation, italics, and bold type are some of the ways to draw attention to the central point(s) in each post.
3. “Don’t smother verbs,” Cullen warns. When verbs are changed into nouns, that muddles the meaning while increasing sentence length. The word “decide” is far more impactful than “decision”, Cullen explains, and “unsmothering verbs is a very powerful clarity technique”. Adverbs sometimes “smother” verbs, I tell content writers. Use stronger verbs, Writers’ Digest says, and you won’t need the help of adverbs.
These are just three tips out of the 87, but, at Say It For You, we know that the basics of blogging for business remain the same – building trust and offering valuable information. In fact, you might say, when we write to express, not impress, it’s about two things – creating customers and keeping them engaged.