Good content writing will stand the
test of time, enticing readers to save a piece and re-read it periodically.
Integrated marketers often find themselves in charge of creating content and
hoping that it will rank highly on Google and stick with readers. So, what can
content writers learn from notable authors to help them make their work shine?
Fortunately, the Content Marketing Institute has compiled
10 tips from best-selling
authors to help
marketers learn to make their content stand out.
Get Lost in Detail – John Gould
In other words, stick to the basics. If the content doesn’t
illuminate or educate, cut it out. Be merciless, if you must.
Everything – Stephen King, Lee Child, Michael Moorcock
You’ve probably heard this one before. Good writers start as
good readers. Review excellent writing, read what great authors share, and be
subject matter agnostic. Read everything to learn about how different writers
in different genres engage readers.
the Word ‘Very’ – Mark Twain
Very is a lazy word, the famed author wrote, used to support
weak verbs. If you can’t write something active, rework the sentence,
eliminating the troublesome verb.
Overcomplicate Your Language – Ernest Hemingway
Or, to quote Twain again, “Don’t use a five-dollar word when
a fifty-cent word will do.” Essentially, make your content relatable; don’t get
bogged down in industry speak. Write so that the average middle schooler will
understand what you are saying. If copywriting
is the art of getting readers to act, don’t obscure the message!
the Adverbs – Stephen King, Kingsley Amis, Elmore Leonard, Anton Chekhov
Like the word ‘very’ (referenced above) adverbs are a weak
substitute for strong verbs. Be descriptive, precise, and powerful instead of
qualifying or minimizing your language.
the Active Voice – George Orwell
The active voice is strong, authoritative, and clear. Passive
voice is harder to read and may sound ambivalent, as though the writer is
equivocating. Integrated marketers cannot afford to sound less than
enthusiastic, knowledgeable, or confident about the value of their product or
service. Using passive voice implies uncertainty and is unconvincing when
trying to persuade a reader.
Responsible with Punctuation – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Avoid exclamation points—they undermine your message.
Instead, write so that readers have space and freedom to experience their
emotions or thoughts in response to your work. Exclamation points and other
overused punctuation imply that the writer is telling the reader how to feel in
a given situation.
Your Words Carefully – Mark Twain
You don’t want readers to have to work too hard to follow
what you write, so choose clear, purposeful language. Remember that readers
have short attention spans, so when communicating new ideas, be concise and
to the point so that your message is clear.
Up Content for an Easier Read – Stephen King
Given the surfeit of content options available to readers,
marketers need to be able to structure theirs to grab and hold readers’
attention. King recommends alternating sentence length, making content
skimmable with headings, numbers, and bullets, choosing language that pulls the
reader through each piece of content, and embracing
10. Find Your Inspiration, Don’t Wait for It to
Find You – Jack London
If you are a writer, or it’s your job to create content, you
write. Don’t wait for the muse to strike. To coin a phrase: Just do it. Look at
the advice and work of other great writers to learn the techniques that will
help you create standout content.
Remember these 10 tips to simplify, clarify, and
condense your content, making your writing more appealing and enduring for