“Long sentences are for Charles Dickens,” says the Jimdo blog for entrepreneurs – “The short attention span of today’s reader demands sentences of 35 words or less.” To achieve that abbreviated effect, Jimdo advises using adverbs and adjectives sparingly, focusing on nouns and verbs, sticking to active voice.
That rule that is of particular help in business blogging, I teach at Say It For You. Why is short better?
- Short sentences have “pow!”.
- Short sentences, particularly in titles, can easily be shared on social media sites.
- Focused sentences keep readers’ attention on the message.
That does not mean, though, as Brandon Royal reminds us in The Little Red Writing Book, that every sentence needs to be as short as every other. “The writer must judge how to weave short sentences with longer ones.” There’s a trade-off involved in writing copy, Royal is quick to add – sufficient detail will make a piece of writing longer, yet examples and details are the very things people remember.
Translating that into more powerful business blog content writing, I emphasize using specific and descriptive wording to “fill in the details” of the message. Don’t be indiscriminate when scrapping modifiers. After all, it’s those adjectives and adverbs that add the emphasis, explanation, and detail to your writing, as grammarly.com says.
As a general rule, we bloggers need to keep our sentences not only short, but active. Sentences in the active voice have energy and directness, both of which will keep your reader turning the pages”, is the advice from dailywritingtips.com.
A few short-and-active disclaimers are in order:
While in this Say It For You blog I spend a lot of time discussing good writing, there’s a lot more to effective blogging than just the writing. (Bloggers need marketing expertise and at least some degree of technical expertise around a computer.)
My remarks here are not about the length of a blog post, (a whole ‘nuther topic), but about optimal sentence length.
Short is not easy. “Brevity hones thinking and forces clarity, as one Georgetown University linguistics professor points out in USA Today, “but it can also mean losing subtlety and nuance.”
Adding my own reminder to business blog content writers, I’d say: Blog content writing needs to be personal and conversational, not terse. Don’t just be short; be sweet.