A good writer can take a complex subject and make it understandable, or READABLE. A good blogger also has to use visual formatting to make the content EASY on the eyes. Both things are necessary to make the experience enjoyable for the online reader.
EASY + READABLE = ENJOYABLE
Let’s take a look at some real world examples of enjoyable (and not so enjoyable) writing.
Michelle Linn’s article Why Strong Writing Is a Skill to Prioritize in 2016 (And How to Hire Great Writers) is a great example of readable web content. It also happens to contain some good advice. The piece is located on the Content Marketing Institute’s website, and as their former head of editorial it’s clear Linn knows her audience.
Ms. Linn begins with a statistic that is both shocking and engaging. “[H]aving internal content creators become stronger writers was the lowest-ranked priority for marketers” (Linn, 2015). The lead is followed by an eye-catching horizontal bar graph that shows the gap between the top priority (Creating More Engaging Content) and the lowest priority (Becoming Stronger Writers).
Next she uses quotations culled from a roundtable of five B2B (business-to-business) panelists, who provide practical suggestions on how to make writing a higher priority in the workplace. The quotation marks are oversized to provide visual interest. This style is used eleven times throughout the article, and helps keeps the reader engaged with the content.
The article is readable because the content is well thought out with short paragraphs that flow logically. She also uses headings and subheadings effectively. To finish, she ends with a strong conclusion that directly answers the “why” in her title.
In contrast, How to Improve Your Writing Skills and Grammar in 2018: 31 Easy Tips from the Kajabi blog site breaks some basic rules of good writing. A list of thirty-one things, no matter what they are, is too long. The author’s choice of wording is sometimes unclear, and requires the reader to decipher what is being said. Ironically, grammatical errors are scattered throughout the piece despite their recommendation that writers should proofread carefully and use good grammar. Examples are shown below.
Did you find them?
- In the first paragraph, the incorrect “two” was used instead of “to.”
- Under #8 the second sentence references the title incorrectly by using the word “ability” instead of “accountability.”
- The second paragaph under #9 uses “their” two times. It’s unclear whose writing we’re getting feedback on in the second sentence. It would make sense if the first “their” was replaced with “your.”
Although both blogs are easy on the eye, the Kajabi article should have been edited and proofread more thoroughly. Perhaps next time the author will take #13 from their list more seriously – “Take Several Passes for Editing and Proofreading” (2018).
Remember the formula: EASY + READABLE = ENJOYABLE. If you want to capture your online reader, use clear formatting. Most importantly, make sure it’s readable by taking the time to think about your message. The well-known writing teacher William Zinsser said “Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can’t exist without the other. It’s impossible for a muddy thinker to write good English” (2016). It’s good advice for writing well.
until nxt time …
Kajabi. (2018, February 14). How to improve your writing skills and grammar in 2018: 31 easy tips. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://blog.kajabi.com/writing-skills-how-to-improve
Linn, M. (2015, November 6). Why strong writing is a skill to prioritize in 2016 (and how to hire great writers). Retrieved from https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2015/11/strong-writing-prioritize/
Zinsser, W. (2016). On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction. New York, NY: Harper Perennial.