5 Tips on How to Write Concisely

By: Maggie Dennison

Whatever you write, you stand a better chance of people reading it if you keep the writing tight and concise. This is particularly true of your marketing materials. Whether it's a brochure, a sales letter, a postcard, or website content, a lasered message is more compelling than pages of wordiness that dance around the point.

Here are some tips on streamlining your words:

1. Write down all your ideas without censoring. Just let it flow onto the paper. Then go back and summarize each paragraph in one sentence. This one sentence may be enough to communicate the gist of the paragraph.

2. Imagine you have to get your point across in half the words. Then start editing until you reach that number.

3. Review your piece to make sure that words and ideas are not repeated unnecessarily. This sounds obvious but it's surprising how often it happens. It's not difficult to catch repeated words, but duplicated ideas can slip through easily.

4. If you were writing an advertisement where you’re paying for each word, which words would you eliminate?

5. Choose simple words over complex ones. It will make your writing easier to read e.g. “use" instead of “utilize", “working" instead of “operational". Use a long word only if it’s necessary for clarity or to convey a precise meaning.

Copyright 2006 Maggie Dennison

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