As I create and edit more content for my business and clients, I notice people getting away from writing as concisely and as simply as possible.

I recently heard Dan Zarella, the social media strategist and author of “The Science of Retweets,” say that blog posts, ebooks and tweets written at a fifth grade level will be forwarded many times more often than more complex content.

Simplifying the marketing of a complex product or service starts with simple language.

With so many people generating content, we need a revival of Stunk and White’s The Elements of Style and commitment to write simply. I recently wrote a post about the length of posts and articles and people not having sufficient time to read them (http://wp.me/pYHt6-eQ).

It takes more time to write concisely and thoughtfully. However, the extra time is worthwhile if it enhances readability, intellectual and emotional connection, and pass along readership.

How can you distill the value proposition of what you are selling in a way that it appeals to your target both intellectually and emotionally?

Here are a 10 suggestions:

1. Avoid big words. Instead of the first word, use the second:

  • aggregate = total
  • ascertain = find out
  • demonstrate = show
  • finalize = finish
  • utilize = use

2. Eliminate redundancy:

  • close proximity = near
  • different varieties = varieties
  • first and foremost = first
  • joined together = joined
  • whether or not = whether

3. Know the meaning of the words you are using:

  • ability, capacity
  • about, approximately
  • affect, effect
  • over, more than
  • principle, principal

4. Eliminate clichés:

  • beyond the shadow of a doubt
  • cost-effective
  • dialogue
  • first and foremost
  • vitally important

5. Avoid acronyms or jargon. If you must use an acronym, define it immediately in parentheses (e.g., CRM (Customer Relationship Management)). Don’t assume that everyone knows, or uses, the same industry acronyms and jargon as you.

6. Use lowercase letters. Only user uppercase when lower case do not work.

7. Learn the language of your customer and use it.

8. Clearly communicate the benefits you provide and the problems you solve, not the features you bring.

9. Be human. People do business with people, not companies.

10. Ask a fifth grader to read what you’ve written and tell you what it means to them.

What can you do to write simply?

Ask your customer.




Tom Smith

Experienced marketing professional who has worked with more than 120 clients in 18 different vertical industries. ♦ Differentiate products and services by improving UX and delivering memorable CX to create an emotional connection to the brand. ♦ Obtain insights from analytics to solve business problems and drive revenue. ♦ Develop and implement marketing campaigns that double traffic and leads in three months. ♦ Certified Marketing Automation Professional ♦ Certified Voice of the Customer (VOC) Professional