Many of my clients hold advanced degrees. They are doctors, scientists, engineers, and tech gurus.
In other words, they’re a bright bunch.
Their smarts show up every time they open their mouths or put fingers to keyboards.
They are brilliant and write like they think. Complex sentences. Big words. Intricate ideas.
That may be great for academia and research. Not so great for marketing or sales.
My clients usually come to me because they suspect their writing needs work.
Their marketing gets no responses. Their sales pieces lead to blank stares. They spend more time explaining than selling.
Are you facing the same thing? Make your writing simpler.
5 Surprising Ways to Simplify Your Writing
- Explain your idea to a 5-year-old.
When you explain something to a kid, you self edit. You force yourself to think in bite-sized chunks. Your thinking gets clearer. You describe in ways that are easy to digest. You use smaller words, shorter sentences, and analogies. Your words become visual and descriptive.
- Cut, cut, and cut again.
Be ruthless. If a word, idea, or paragraph doesn’t move your story forward, delete it. Read through your writing at least once to remove anything not needed. Better yet, read through it two or three times.
- List unnecessary words…and NEVER use them again.
Words and phrases you can almost always cut or change: Very, just, really, truly, in order to (just say “to”), so that, it is expected that, due to the fact that (say “because”), utilize (say “use”).
This lists only a handful. Do a web search and you’ll find dozens more that can go. You’ll never miss them.
- Read out loud.
Seriously. Do this. Reading your text out loud shows you where the weird phrasing is. It reveals ideas that are too complex. It uncovers sentences that are too long. It shows you where the reader may stumble.
Try it. You’ll be surprised by how much this improves your writing.
- There’s an app for that.
Grammarly is a good tool. Many swear by it. But, my personal favorite is HemingwayApp.com. Paste your content in the app. Color coding shows you hard-to-read sentences. It points out phrases that have simpler alternatives. The app reveals passive verbs and unnecessary adverbs.
I use it to analyze my writing all the time. (See, even professional writers need help sometimes.)
Simple Writing Respects Your Reader
Most of my clients understand why I change their text. But some push back. They say, “Don’t dumb down my content.”
My response: Simple writing doesn’t dumb down anything. Simple writing respects your reader.
Think about it. When you ask your friends and coworkers how they are doing, what do they say?
“I’m so busy!”
Everyone you know is busy. We all try to shove more into already packed days.
Your clients and prospects are busy too. No one has time to read complex writing.
If content is hard to digest, people stop reading.
Is that the response you want to your marketing or sales?
If they stop reading, you’ve lost your chance. You won’t get their attention again.
Try these tips to simplify your writing. See if your writing doesn’t improve dramatically.
Contact me if you need professional help with your writing.