A favorite fellow blogger, David Meerman Scott of WebInkNow.com reminds readers how important it is to “make your writing easy to understand”.
Now, when I’m engaged in corporate blogging training, I sometimes critique newbie blog content writers’ attempts, always trying to keep my words positive and encouraging.
With my mother’s admonitions about tact firmly implanted in my mind. I don’t know that I could ever rise to the level of ruthless honesty Meerman-Scott showed in picking apart the content on the website of a company called ITA Software.
"Founded in the mid-nineties by MIT computer science graduates, ITA Software has pioneered a new generation of travel technology. Our world-class engineers and travel industry experts are solving the industry’s most complex computing challenges, and in doing so reshaping its very foundations."
Meerman-Scott has one word for that text: Gobbledygook. The problem, he points out, with using language like game changer, innovative solutions, next generation, world-class, customer-centric, and the like is that “these words and phrases are so overused as to have become meaningless”.
As a professional ghost writer, I can see another fault in the ITA material. In offering content writing assistance, I’d advise ITA not only to avoid trite adjectives, but to find a more effective way to impart information without “showing off”, coming across as pompous, or simply selling too hard.
It can be far more compelling, in business blog writing, to have customers do the bragging in the form of testimonials. What’s more, the ITA website paragraph offered no usable information to readers relating to either the travel industry or the software field. Rather than positioning their business as the “go to” source for things readers want to know, ITA kept patting its own back!
There are several reasons, I’d point out to freelance blog writers, that David Meerman Scott’s rewrite of the ITA paragraph is a big improvement:
"ITA Software by Google helps air passengers, airlines, and online travel agencies by making it easier for people to comparison shop for flights. Because of the huge volume of real-time transactions in airline pricing, the ITA Software engine is central in the travel industry’s most complex computing application."
- It shows they understand their customers’ (the travel agencies’) problems and needs.
- It offers a taste of how the end customer will benefit (“making it easier for people to comparison shop for flights..”).
The David Meerman Scott blog post clearly illustrates three negatives and one all-important positive for Indianapolis blog writers to keep in mind:
- Stay away from gobbledegook, from big words, and from boasting.
- Above all, make your business blog writing easy to understand!