With the tremendous growth in the use of digital media, writing is no longer what it was when books and journals were the media of gaining information. Unlike printed publications where space is finite, digital platforms offer an infinite amount of space. There is no requirement for writers to edit and re-edit and they can post long and short content on any media they want. However, to appeal to user interest, writers need sharp and tactful writing skills that can present any information in an impactful way.
To make your writing more powerful, try the below exercises for effective delivery:
1) Limit use of “I” and “we”: If your content says “I will explain the best ways for content marketers to produce great content and I will use information I have garnered over years of experience”, try using “Here I explain the best ways for content marketers to produce great content and in the process go through bouts of information gained over years of experience” instead.
The revised sentence includes the first-person reference only once while retaining the gist of the original sentence. This is an important exercise since studies reveal that people perceive people using multiple first-person references as less confident, less assured and less self-conscious. It is possible they may quit reading the content in the first few lines and never visit again. As a rule, try and avoid inserting your reference in the content unless absolutely relevant. Even if you are a part of the story, do not use “I” and “me” or “we” frequently. The reader should be able to identify it is your story through the broader exposition.
2) Eliminate weasel phrases: An original sentence may say “With all due respect, we believe healthy living requires the best workout. That being said, Nice Gym is an excellent choice for losing fat and living healthy”. Removing the weasel phrases of “with all due respect” and “that being said”, the sentence becomes “We believe healthy living requires the best workout. Nice Gym is an excellent choice for losing fat and living healthy”. The meaning remains the same, but unnecessary additions are removed. It is important to avoid using these weasel words since they are used when the speaker tries to give a clear answer or make a direct statement when in reality they end up saying something vague and inconclusive. It is best to use short and clear sentences implying exactly what you are trying to say.
3) Resist qualifiers and intensifiers: In the sentence “Influencers generally are rather excellent people for content marketing. They can be particularly helpful in content promotion”, rather and particularly act as qualifier and intensifier respectively. Eliminating them will, again, provide the same information but does will not exaggerate the real meaning. A qualifier weakens or lessens the impact of a word or phrase while an intensifier strengthens or emphasizes the importance of a word or phrase. Unfortunately, writers overuse these words, which minimizes or exaggerates meaning. Review your content for qualifiers and intensifiers (e.g., very, too, quite, so, rather) and delete every unnecessary use.
4) Remove “to be”: Try and remove forms of “to be” from sentences to create more impact and refine your phrases. As an example, the sentence “When you are required to have meetings, you conduct them. When you are not instructed to have a meeting, you don’t take the pain for the same”. Writing it as “When required to have meetings, you conduct them. When not instructed to have a meeting, you don’t take the pain for the same” implies the same thing without using “to be”.
Deleting forms of “to be” can create more meaning using lesser words. At times, it can be tough to write without using “to be” or a form of passive voice. For this, write a rough draft without paying much attention to active or passive voice. Then revise the content and edit it to use only active voice.
5) Reduce the use of prepositions: Cut down on the use of prepositions wherever possible. In the phrase “With the acquisition of Era Global, the employees at the RiseTech opted to throw a party in celebration of their new employer”, removing prepositions will result in something like “To celebrate the company’s January 2019 acquisition, Era Global’s RiseTech plant employees threw a party.
Reducing prepositions is required because multiple prepositions in a single sentence can make the text choppy and confusing for your audience. Revise your knowledge of prepositions and eliminate each to ensure that you are using the right subject-verb combination. Put back only those prepositional phrases whose meaning can’t be more succinct.
While you can try all these tips together, a better method would be to create a plan with realistic expectations. Practice these exercises one by one depending on how frequently you create content. Master each of these steps before moving on to the next. Eventually, you will be skilled enough to incorporate these tips into your writing automatically.