Please know that I'm not trying to inhibit your creativity or water down your content. If a post really needs to be 750 words, then let it be.
Usually, though, tighter writing and editing will reveal the truth: You can make your point in far fewer words than you think you can.
To the client who inspired this blog post, you know who you are. I hope these tips are helpful to you, as well to others whose posts may be overflowing.
- Stay active – You'll use less words with an active voice (the dog bit John) than a passive one (John was bit by the dog).
- Tighten up your story – There are many benefits to telling a personal story in your blog post, but sometimes you just need to cut to the chase.
- Focus, focus, focus – Don't try to cram everything you know into one article. Focus on a very specific topic, and then turn your attention to the next post.
- Break it down – Maybe your article is actually a blog post series in disguise - check out these tips for how to divide it.
- Be ruthless – Ruth is actually the name of my sister/editor. If you're Ruth-less, without an editor of your own (hey, we do that!), then you MUST be ruthless with your self-editing.
- Watch for repetition – When you're in the flow, the same important point may pop into your head more than once. Don't censor yourself in the writing stage, but edit out these repetitions.
- Take time for quality – Above all, give yourself time for editing (and ALL four phases of the writing process). Avoid planning to write and publish the same day.
- Walk away for today – Ideally, you'll want to step away from the article after you finish, so you can come back with new eyes another day.
- Read it out loud – You'll catch lots of errors this way. Also be sure to shorten and simplify any run-on sentences.
- Ask for help - If you've done your best and the article is still longer than you want it to be, ask someone else what you can cut out. And if you've already edited, this person can tell you if the article still makes sense.
As writers we can get pretty attached to our words – they all seem essential. Yet with a little work, time and distance, you'll see how much crisper your writing can be.
How does that lead to more business? Plain language makes it easier for your readers to get your message and benefit from your expertise. Then they'll remember you when they're looking for more help on the topic.
Are you interested in more blog writing strategies? Check out the series, How to Write a Blog Post. Here's the first post in the series.