Ten Tips for Content Clarity

PWB Ann Arbor Marketing Agency blogClarity. A simple word. An elusive goal for many marketers. As we all scramble to provide quality content that engages our readers, this is a struggle for many. But time invested in improving clarity of your content is time well-spent. Your audience will understand and value your content. Your team will appreciate your focus. And, search engines will love you as a bonus.

While clarity is a core issue with technology products, I see issues in everything from enterprise software, down to baked goods. Many marketers without formal writing training fall victim to gobbledygookspeak. Hell, even many WITH formal training do it.

But my mom taught me that if I can’t say something constructive, best keep my mouth shut. So, here are a few ideas for achieving clarity.

  1. AAAA – Avoid Acronyms Almost Always. Tech people might remember the term PCMCIA. Some industry analysts said that stood for People Can’t Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms. If you must use them, spell it out first with the acronym in parentheses. Then try to keep re-use to a minimum.
  2. Buzzword Bingo – You don’t “socialize” things, you review them with others. Human beings don’t have “bandwidth”. They have time available or they don’t. Strunk and White had it right in 1920 – “write like you talk”.
  3. Shorter is Better – Brevity is a virtue. In the words of Mark Twain, “If I’d had more time, I’d have written you a shorter letter.” Always be looking for the briefest way to communicate your key point(s).
  4. Think About Your Mom – Would your Mom understand this content? No way? Well, then re-write it until you think she could at least get the gist.
  5. Have a Purpose – Don’t develop content just to develop content. Before a single keystroke, you should have clear objectives for what you’re trying to convey.
  6. One Picture = 1,000 Words – Is there a visual way to explain the concept? Do that.
  7. Don’t Complexify the Simple – Some folks have a gift for this. An innate ability to take something relatively simple and then overthink it until no one has a clue. If you’re one of those people, be vigilant to prevent it.
  8. Tell ‘em Three Times – I taught public speaking in a former life. One of the key points I made to students was that you need to tell your audience what you’re about to tell them, then tell them, then review what you told them to check for understanding.
  9. Be Bright, Be Brief, Be Gone – I will admit that I stole this from a presentation coach. Be insightful. Be quick. And, then leave them wanting more.
  10. Editing – Your best friend. Write it well. Then take out at least 10%. Then 10% more. You’re almost there.

Hope these help you as you consider developing quality content for your marketing campaigns. If you just can’t do it, call us. We’ll help you out.

Sean

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