Trimming the excessSome complain that tweeting, texting, IMing and other short-form social communications are ruining the English language. In order to fit a message into 140 characters, people are abbreviating words, leaving out punctuation and basically breaking every grammar rule we ever learned. Or didn’t learn.

While that may be true, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about cutting out the fat. The extraneous verbiage. Finding a way to get to the point and make it succinctly, without sacrificing spelling or grammar. Tweeting has helped me sharpen my editing skills.

The ideal length of a blog post is however many words it takes to communicate your message. No more. Carefully trimming away the excess from your writing will reveal the essence. As Michelangelo said “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

How does this apply to your small business blog?

Your target audience is suffering from information overload. They have trained themselves to skim instead of read. Their time is precious. Respect that by making every word count.

  • Never do a brain dump and then click on “Publish”. Save your draft. Go do something else. Then come back and read what you wrote.
  • Cut out redundancies. Cut out wordiness. Cut. Reveal the statue.
  • Run a spellchecker, but read every word anyway. The spellchecker won’t catch mistakes like “your” instead of “you’re”, or missing words. If you don’t trust your spelling or grammar skills, have someone else proofread for you. Because even if your message is solid, you’ll turn off a portion of your audience with every misspelling and grammar error you overlook.
  • Try tweeting. Can you convey a complete message in 140 characters or less with no errors or omissions? Shakespeare said that “brevity is the soul of wit” and that is still true today.

Practicing these skills when writing can help make you a better blogger and may also improve the stickiness of your blog, increase the page views and lower your bounce rate.

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