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There is a growing school of thought that promotes the use of simple language in writing, especially digital writing. Consumers don’t have limitless time to read your website, corporate profile, social media posts, blogs, brochure or proposal. Long, complex sentences and exaggerated expressions will be scanned through at best and leave your communication piece with poor recall levels.

This style of writing encourages writers to be economical with words, to communicate clearly and in the most direct way possible. By writing in simple, clear language your reader will quickly and easily understand exactly what you mean the first time they read it. In short, get to the point and move on.

American writer, Kurt Vonnegut, said this about writing clearly:

“If you can’t write clearly, you probably don’t think nearly as well as you think you do.”

A common mistake is to associate long sentences and big words with good writing. Simple writing is often seen as ‘dumbed down’ language or ‘talking down to your reader’. This is simply not true. The fact is that writing isn’t good writing if it’s hard to read and comprehend. A well-written piece in plain language serves the widest possible audience and this is absolutely crucial in digital writing, especially.

There are two key benefits of using simply language:

  1. It is more effective: Well-written pieces are easier to understand and therefore, easier to act upon. From a marketing point of view, this translates into a higher conversion rate.
  2. It makes your brand sound confident: Clear writing is clear thinking. This makes your brand come across as confident and reliable. Consumers are attracted to trustworthy brands and it makes them feel good about their purchase decision.

Here are a few guidelines to assist with keeping your writing simple and easy to understand:

  • Don’t use a long word when a short word will do. Always.
  • If you can cut a word or paragraph without losing the core idea, cut it.
  • Avoid using jargon, a foreign phrase or a scientific word if there is an English equivalent.
  • Avoid using metaphors, similes or any other figure of speech. It sounds long-winded.
  • Use active verbs rather than passive. It’s easier to read and understand.
  • Edit yourself ruthlessly. Make 100% sure your sentences are in their simplest, possible form.

“Nobody told all the new computer writers that the essence of writing, is rewriting. Just because they are writing fluently doesn’t mean they are writing well” – William Zinsser.

Email info@contentum.co.za, simplify your communication and increase your conversions today.