Want to know how to engage readers? You need to cut the fluff!
The average blog reader spends thirty-seven seconds reading a post. If you don’t hook your audience, you’re going to lose them in about the time it took me to decide that running a half-marathon with my husband was an insanely awful idea.
Good news, our marriage survived the one training run we attempted together and now I cheer him on from the sidelines. Waving witty, supportive signs from the comfort of the sidewalk? Yes. Wheezing for air and pulling at lycra leggings sliding down my burning quads? No thanks.
The easiest way to communicate effectively is to cut out all the fluff.
How to engage readers:
1. Delete every “so” and “very”
These are top-offender fluff words. They are rarely necessary and they slow down your readers. When we get bogged down with unnecessary words, we’re more likely to quit. Give your content a fighting chance and take these words out.
2. Choose powerful adjectives.
Efficient writing need not be boring.
Original sentence: “I am so excited!” We followed step one and deleted “so” and we’re left with “I am excited!” which doesn’t feel like enough.
Choose a more powerful adjective. Think of a word that communicates “so excited” in one, strong word.
“I am thrilled!”
3. Be direct
Most of the fluff in our writing comes from circling around our point. As my husband consistently admonishes me, “Land the damn plane.”
If you include an anecdote (and you should), keep it snappy and to the point. Tell the part of the story that relates and cut out superfluous details. This doesn’t mean you can’t use effective details in your story, it just means you’re intentional about what you include.
The less fluffy your writing, the better you’ll connect with your audience. If you’re only getting 37 seconds of their time, make sure you aren’t wasting it.
Want to read more about improving your writing? Check out this post about how to edit yourself!