“Brevity is the soul of wit.” This playwright’s advice still rings true up to this day! [Tuesdays: “Write with the Pen of the Masters”]
William Shakespeare once wrote in his play titled, “Hamlet”:
“Since brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief.”
As one of the greatest playwrights in history, Shakespeare knew the importance of being succinct.
If Shakespeare thought being brief is important in the 16th century, imagine how much more crucial it is in a world that demands instant results.
A myriad of information is available everywhere, though not all of it gets read.
According to online analytics and publication website Social Media Today, about 2.5 quintillion bytes of information are published on the internet EVERY DAY!
Take note: A quintillion has 18 zeros.
Just imagine how big that is!
If you’re a copywriter whose articles contribute to that number, you should consider these things as you write your copies:
- An effective writing style that will make your copies rise above the vast sea of online content.
- A strategy to hook your target reader’s attention and motivate them to read until the bottom page of your content.
One of the ways to do that?
Be concise―listen to Shakespeare’s advice!
This means using the fewest words possible to convey an idea clearly. However, you still have to be mindful and maintain the balance of being concise and informative. Your copies shouldn’t be too concise to the point that it loses substance.
Recall your reading experiences. Have you ever lost interest in reading an online article because it’s too lengthy?
If your answer is “yes,” you’re not alone.
Reading long blocks of text can be overwhelming, confusing, and boring. It’s hard to quickly identify the main point the author is trying to communicate.
When this happens, readers become less receptive to the information presented in the article. The author might as well say goodbye to making a lasting impression on them.
On the other hand, when an article is concisely written, it’s more pleasing to the eyes and more likely to sustain readers’ attention.
Here’s a note: Brevity doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It takes consistent writing practice and effort to achieve that.
As a writer, you’ve probably struggled applying this aspect at some point in your copies too.
Don’t lose hope. We have some good news for you.
Below are some tips to help you get rid of those extra words that weigh down your writing!
Avoid tautology, eliminate redundancy.
A tautology is a phrase or expression in which the same idea is said twice by using different words in a sentence.
Take a look at this statement:
“In my opinion, I think that’s a problem.”
Do you notice there’s something a bit off in the way it was stated?
The phrases, “In my opinion” and “I think” are similar in meaning and yet, they are used in the same sentence.
Instead of that, you can just say:
“In my opinion, that’s a problem.”
“I think that’s a problem.”
When you remove redundant words or phrases, you simplify your sentence and effectively communicate your points more directly.
- Strengthen weak adjectives.
Using strong adjectives helps trim down sentence length.
Here’s an example. Instead of writing:
“Your presentation was very good!”
Make it more concise by saying:
“Your presentation was superb!”
As you draft your next set of copies, look for sentences where you’ve used two or more words to describe something and replace it with the best one-word adjective.
Strengthen your vocabulary and make those sentences more vibrant!
- Use the active voice.
When a sentence is written in the active voice, the subject is the doer of an action.
“He wrote a wrong answer.”
On the other hand, a sentence written in the passive voice states that the subject is the receiver of the action.
Let’s change the active sentence above into a passive one:
“A wrong answer was written by him.”
Take note that the passive sentence is longer than the active sentence by two words. If you want to go for a more concise writing style, as much as possible, always write in the active voice.
Besides, an active voice sets a stronger and more direct tone.
- Watch out for nominalizations and filler words.
Nominalizations are multi-word phrases that are better replaced with a single word.
Instead of writing:
“The professor gave an assessment of the student’s writing style.”
You can just simply state:
“The professor assessed the student’s writing style.”
Aside from that, another thing you must also avoid is using fillers or words that have no bearing on a sentence and simply “fill” the space.
“For all intents and purposes, this project will be outsourced.”
Let’s make that sentence concise by saying:
“This project will be outsourced.”
The second sentence still works… and is more direct, right?
When writing a good copy, it’s not all about the word count, but the ability to get a message across more effectively.
It’s easy to fill your content with extra words, especially if you’re excited about the topic you’re writing about.
However, keep in mind that concise writing is one of the secrets to good and effective content.
Remember Shakespeare’s advice: “Brevity is the soul of wit…”
Apply these tips as you draft your next set of copies!
By doing so, you’ll help your readers have a better grasp of your main point. Plus, as a writer, you’ll be trained to organize and streamline your ideas as part of your writing process.
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Write with the Pen of the Masters”
Who doesn’t find content writing to be a skill that requires a lot of practice and effort?
In fact, many people may even find copywriting very intimidating.
However, you can be a good writer as long as you have the right tools. You won’t always get things right the first time, but with enough time and practice, you’ll get the hang of it!
When you write a copy for any brand or for your company, your aim is to make an impact and…
…to get people to remember.
Getting people to remember means getting consumers to buy your product or to avail of your service.
And when you get your content to deliver the results you want, THAT is a great copy!
Every Tuesday, we publish content based on tips and insights from the masters of content writing, copywriting, and storytelling.
Become more familiar with ways to write great copy that helps you gain ROI from your efforts, drive profitability, and achieve your business goals.
Learn time-tested tactics that better capture the attention of your target audience, and maximize the benefits of great copywriting.
Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Write with the Pen of the Masters!”
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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