April 1, 2011

How to remedy word vomit and other writing blunders

We named our business PlainClarity because we attempt both in writing, PR and web design and development. Today, I’m focusing on the former. Writing succinctly is an art I challenge you to practice often. (That sentence could have read “Writing succinct copy is an art that I challenge you to practice as often as you can.”) Tip #1: Removing excess words makes a sentence stronger.

Careful composition suffers at the hands of email, texting and other forms of quick communication. Next time you write an email, newsletter, press release or the like, do a read-through. What words can you omit while still retaining your message? Then do another read-through. Any fat left to trim? Too many descriptors? Any fluff?

When writing web copy, write for your audience, not for yourself. You want to share everything about the business or service you provide, because you’re passionate about it, but your readers are limited on time and may lose interest if you vomit too much prose. When writing press releases, channel Joe Friday: Just the facts. You’re selling a story. Putting on my press hat: We don’t like drawn-out descriptions of why your event is “the most amazing show created by an incredible man who has so much to offer the people he cares so deeply for.” Don’t get to the point in your first paragraph and you’ve lost us.

Questions? Ask away.

About the Author

Brook Larios

Brook Larios

Brook's 14 years of professional communications experience spans newsroom reporting, national nonprofit and luxury public relations management and building a successful pr agency founded on uncommon connections and creativity. She's a lover of horses, fitness, reading, nature and good conversation. Zany and approachable, Brook prefers removing the surface rather than scratching it.