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Illustration of a Man with a Rose Admired by WomenWell, maybe not swoon. But with 55 percent of visitors spending fewer than 15 seconds on Web sites, you don’ want to waste their time before they get you
r marketing message.

Shorter is often better when it comes to marketing content. But all too often, your in-house experts turn in bloated, unclear, jargon-filled bylined articles, blog posts or white papers that are far long than they should be. What’s worse, a lot of the words don’t need to be there at all.

Getting the essential points across in the least amount of space takes work, and experience. In my years of editing I’ve kept a list of words or phrases you can cut without losing anything useful – and actually improving your content.

Try deleting the words or phrases in italics and see if the copy gets to the point faster.

  • Saying the same thing twice: “First founded,” “predict future failures” “combined together with” “…In addition, it will also…”
  • Unnecessarily wordy terms: “quality control processes,” “products in use” “critical and essential.”
  • Unnecessary clauses: “The ordering process that was being followed…” “The audits that were required…” “Operational costs while using the product…”
  • Unnecessary “throat clearing” phrases: “In other words…” “essentially” “basically” “The list of critical requirements is listed below…” “The customer’s problem was clear and critical…
  • Two buzzwords when one is clearer: “Software solution,” “cost cutting and optimization,” “transformation and migration to the cloud.”
  • Quotes that don’t describe specific benefits, your competitive differentiation or why a prospect should consider you: “We were very pleased to offer our XYZ solution to Acme Widgets…” “The XYZ met our needs for a scalable, end to end solution…” “Global Services Inc. successfully completed the project on time and on budget…”
  • Restating needs rather than describing your solution: “Next-generation virtualization solution that cuts costs and increased efficiency to reduce excessive overhead and underutilization of virtual servers.”

And After Cutting…

…use the extra space wisely. Add words that describe specific benefits, how your product or service is different or better than your competitor’s, and how it helps customers save money or increase sales.  Write, and edit, as if every word cost you money. Which it will, if it’s not gripping enough to keep your prospects reading.

 

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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