A 15-point checklist to ramp up your content marketing by tuning your writing style to attract, engage and retain more readers.
- Choose short, simple words. Try to stick to words of less than 4 syllables. Psychologists have shown that far from impressing people, the use of long words makes most people think less of the author.
- Write short, simple sentences.
- One topic per paragraph. Even if this means your paragraphs are single sentences.
- Use the active voice. Don’t have the blog written in a passive manner. It’s harder to read for people and weakens the impact of the statement.
- Aim for low reading level – preferably elementary school level, even if much of the vocabulary is technical. Obviously the ideas and concepts may be beyond the grasp of a child, but the writing should not be.
- Use tools like Grammarly and read-able.com to check your English structure.
- Make sure the first sentence answers the question “why/who would I want to read this?”
- Make sure the last sentence answers the question “what was the point of this blog?”
- Use stronger words, not more adjectives for emphasis – e.g. “crimson” rather than “blood red”. A thesaurus can help here.
- Always get someone else to proof read your work. We never see our own mistakes.
- Text is visual design. Think about the white space. This is “why” you should separate text into short paragraphs. This is also why bullet points and lists are effective.
- Choose your fonts. Fonts like Verdana and Georgia are designed with web resolution in mind. Proxima Nova is a popular modern alternative to Verdana, and Garamond likewise an alternative to Georgia.
- Make it personal with me, you and us.
- Keep a conversational style, but make sure your grammar is correct.
- Use bold to highlight key words and phrases.
This is a simple checklist, but one which you can easily apply and immediately start to reap the benefits of a more engaged audience.