Fashion designers think about it; blog content writers should, too. Varying lengths, that is.
One rule that is of business blogging help in particular is keeping sentences short. Short sentences have power, and, particularly in titles, can more easily be shared on social media sites.
While Brandon Royal, author of The Little Red Writing Book agrees, he reminds us that not every sentence needs to be kept short. Instead, Royal advises writers to weave in short sentences with longer ones. Every so often, he suggests, a “naked” (extremely short) sentence can add a dynamic touch.
Ever on the alert for examples of excellent business writing, I found a gem in a recent USA Today issue. In “Stocks soar, so do Treasury prices; what gives?” reporter Adam Shell hits the bulls-eye in length-varying.
In fact, in my next corporate blogging training session, I plan to use Shell’s first paragraph as a rather extreme demonstration of the power of varying sentence length in business blog posts. The entire paragraph consists of one 48-word sentence followed by a six-worder.
“Not that Wall Street price moves ever make total sense, but what was odd about Monday’s rally, which powered the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index to another record high, was the fact that the yield on the 10-year Treasury note plunged to its lower level of the year. “That means bond prices rallied, too,”
That entire USA Today article, I couldn’t help noticing, happens to be 148 words long, only half the ideal length for the typical SEO marketing blog. Its three paragraphs are 54, 35, and 59 words long, respectively, effectively offsetting the long and short of it.
The third paragraph does even better, interspersing “naked sentences” with longer statements:
- What gives? (2 words)
- At one point Monday, the yield on the 10-year note fell to 1.65%, eclipsing Friday's prior low of 1.66%.(20 words)
- It closed at 1.67%. (4 words)
- At the start of 2013, the yield was 1.76%, and seven weeks ago, it hit a high for the year of 2.06%. (22 words)
- The lowest closing yield on record was 1.4% on July 24, 2012. (12 words)
In fashion design, and in writing blogs for business, varying lengths engage interest!