Keep your writing VIGOROUS! Check out these tips to write direct, impactful, and powerful copies! [Tuesdays: “Write with the Pen of the Masters”]
Imagine your printer having LED light designs around it…
… your mobile phone having a cup holder attached to it…
… or your wallet having a light bulb connected to it.
Those little additions are fun, but the question is: Are they essential?
Different devices and objects shouldn’t have unnecessary parts.
Likewise, when you’re writing copies or content, your sentences shouldn’t have unnecessary words.
According to authors William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White in the book, “The Elements of Style,” vigorous writing is concise.
This means a sentence shouldn’t contain unnecessary words and a paragraph shouldn’t have unnecessary sentences.
This doesn’t mean you should just write in short sentences and avoid details. This only means EVERY. WORD. SHOULD. TELL.
For your copy to be strong and effective, every word must be important and carry weight. Otherwise, you’re overcrowding your sentences and risking confusion on your readers’ part.
Below is a list of words and phrases that Strunk Jr. and White say you don’t necessarily have to include in your copies:
- “The fact that…”
This phrase makes your sentences needlessly wordy. Therefore, avoid using this phrase when it’s not needed and appropriate. Instead of using “the fact that,” use the following words:
✓ – I ordered coffee since it was the only beverage available at the shop.
✓ – A lot of medical practitioners research diseases because they want to cure them.
✓ – Though her favorite color was red, she chose to wear the blue dress.
✓ – He was an accomplished pianist and composer, although he never published any of his works.
Using the words above in lieu of “the fact that” makes your copy shorter and more direct. This lessens the risk of confusion on your readers’ part.
- “Case,” “Character,” and “Nature”
These words are superfluous and often redundant. Even if you remove these words or phrases that contain these words in your copies, you can still say what you mean completely and directly.
Here are examples of phrases and sentences that contain these words and their revised versions:
✓ – The room lacked air conditioning.
✓ – Few mistakes have been made.
✓ – What the man did were hostile acts.
✓ – Telling false testimonies against a person and hurting someone physically are hostile acts.
- “Who is/was” and “Which is/was”
Just like the previous items, these phrases are unnecessary. It is better if you remove them from your sentences and go straight to the point.
✓ – His cousin, a member of the same firm, was promoted to manager.
✓ – Trafalgar, Nelson’s last battle, is a significant event in naval history.
✓ – I think you’re the one placing the blame on yourself.
As you can see from the statements above, the messages weren’t compromised by omitting “who is” and “which was.” The sentence even became shorter, clearer, and more direct!
Aside from words above that should be omitted from your copies or content, Strunk Jr. and White also talked about the sentence structure that will make your message more concise.
What is that structure?
According to Strunk Jr. and White, this sentence structure is better than writing in a passive voice and negative statements because:
- Active, positive statements use fewer words.
- Active, positive statements are more “active” and signify action on the part of the subject.
- Active, positive statements are less complex in structure. Simply said, they are less confusing!
Let’s take a look and compare these two paragraphs below:
Macbeth was very ambitious. This led him to wish to become king of Scotland. The witches told him that this wish of his would come true. The king of Scotland at this time was Duncan. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth murdered Duncan. He was thus enabled to succeed Duncan as king. (51 words)
Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth murdered King Duncan and achieved his ambition to become king of Scotland, thereby fulfilling the witches’ prophesy. (22 words)
See? Not only is the second paragraph shorter, but it also shows more emotions and allows readers to easily visualize the situation described. It’s better than the longer, static, and monotonous sentences in the first paragraph.
– – –
For your copies to be more concise, impactful, and powerful, try these copywriting tips from Strunk Jr. and White!
While it may be hard to break the habit of writing as many words as you can in your copies or content, with time, consistency, patience, and practice, you’ll make your copies more comprehensive and appealing to your audience.
As the saying goes, less is more!
… and when you keep your messages short and sweet, you’ll provide more clarity to readers who will read your content.
Apply these tips on your next set of drafts!
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
Powered by Valens Research