Simplify Your Message – Removing Clutter From Your Content
By Neil Hocking on December 10, 2018 - Email Marketing, News, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
You’ve probably heard the phrase: ‘you snooze, you lose.’
Well, we’ve got another one for you: ‘you confuse, you lose.’
Your potential customer’s attention is not something to take for granted. You have in the matter of seconds to impress them before you lose them – perhaps for good.
To get them interested enough to stay with you, here are four ways to remove the clutter and keep your copy (or video, or infographic…) on point.
Go for Personal Wherever Possible
If there’s one thing that’s almost guaranteed to grab the attention of a passing browser it’s appealing to them and their priorities. This is the reason why ‘you’ is one of the most powerful words in copywriting.
The sooner you can understand what a person cares about and start talking about that, the more likely you will be to hold their attention. Then you can work on guiding them where you want them to go.
Being Smart Isn’t Always That Smart!
One of the fastest ways to turn off a prospective customer is to throw industry jargon at them. Specialists in certain subjects, whether it’s SEO or DNA sequencing often feel they have to sound clever when talking or writing about their field. But if you’re alienating the majority of your listeners or readers in the process, that really isn’t so smart!
The most accomplished communicators spend time adapting their content so that it can be consumed by the layperson. The more technical the field, the more challenging that is. Stephen Hawking once said that the next generation of experts will not necessarily be the most intelligent but those who can actually communicate difficult concepts to the masses – and he was a pretty smart guy!
Ditch the Detail (and Don’t Digress)
One of the toughest challenges when creating content is adding the right level of detail. A good piece of content should have a clear progression from beginning to end. Once the audience has been hooked by the introduction, every bit of information should move the narrative forward.
Too much detail on one point can slow down the momentum and, even worse, increases the risk of digression. This is the surest way to confuse the reader or viewer. The end of the piece of content should include a brief summary to wrap up the message, followed by a clear call-to-action.
Test Drive Your Message
Before you release your content on your favourite platform, it is a good idea to test it out on a few people who don’t know you. That’s right: no family members, friends or work colleagues. Perhaps you could talk at a networking event, share on your personal Facebook profile or guest post on a blog with an active community of followers. This will help you to gauge how your message comes across. Did people engage with the content. Did they understand the message. Was their any confusion?
Use the feedback you receive to strip even more clutter from your content before going live on your professional marketing channels.
To summarise, you can simplify your message in four steps:
- Address your audience on a personal level.
- Replace jargon with plain language.
- Move forward from beginning to end with minimal detail and don’t digress.
- Test your message with an objective audience before going live.