Printwand, Inc. reports:
"Ernest Hemingway wasn’t a fan of fluff writing. Legend has it that when the author was challenged to write a story using only six words, Hemingway responded with 'For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.' Hemingway’s six[-]word story proves you don’t need wordiness, redundancy or filler to write descriptive copy that invokes an emotional response. You just need to speak to what is familiar to the reader and carefully choose your words...Fluffy writing is like junk food—it has no real value. Sure it fills up a page, but it leaves the audience hungry for something better (if they don’t quit reading it altogether). You want your copy to be like an entrée at a five-star restaurant: compact yet filling, expertly crafted with precision and memorable enough for repeat business...Before you sit down to write any copy, make a rough outline of what you want to get across. This helps you to eliminate fluff before it happens by making sure your content is tight and informative. When you do start writing, you’ll find it easier to stay on topic and compose your thoughts in an orderly, economical fashion...A flyer advertising the grand opening of a new nail salon shouldn’t spend a lot of time describing the company’s mission statement or its various hygiene and safety standards; that sort of thing belongs in a different marketing piece. Stay focused on your goals and keep your writing on task...Resist the urge to fill up your copy using two or more words that mean the same thing. For example, 'We keep your investments safe and secure' can be cut down to just 'We keep your investments safe.' By avoiding redundancy...now it’s free from fluff. The same thing goes for redundant content. If you’ve said something once, you don’t need to say it again in a different context. Trust that the reader got the information the first time...Sometimes you can get away with cutting out entire phrases and replacing them with one word that sums up everything you want to say. For example, 'Perform this step only after everything else has first been completed' is too long and fluffy while 'Perform this step last' gets to the point. It’s better to use one word with weight [than] a bunch of redundant words that mean the same thing, even when those words invoke different concepts...Eliminating fluff isn’t just about using the right words—it’s about creating content that has real value. If you’re just repeating what the reader already knows or spouting off common knowledge, then the content itself is fluff, even if it’s well-written and to the point. Many writers run into this problem when they try to make their content accessible to everyone. However, copywriting is about attracting a particular audience, so your content should speak directly to your audience and what they know...The fluffiest words of all are the ones that add absolutely no value to your copy. These are words like 'very' or 'there' that would be better replaced with something weightier. Why say 'Our staff is very friendly' when you can simply say 'Our staff is [friendly'?] Is there really that big of a difference between a 'friendly' person and a 'very friendly' person? Instead of saying 'There is a free gift with every purchase,' write 'Enjoy a free gift with purchase.'...If you’re targeting a general American audience, there’s a decent chance that half of the people reading your content are doing so at an 8th grade reading level or lower. You can’t fill up your copy with a bunch of long, complicated words because you’ll run the risk of losing more than half of your audience. Keep your language simple and your words small...Once you understand how to use active vs. passive voice, you can use it to make your writing more direct and confident without relying on extra fluff. Saying 'A copy of your invoice will be e-mailed to you by our representatives' gets the point across, but in a slightly roundabout and confusing way. You can eliminate a few words and make that fluffy sentence easier to understand by switching to active [voice]: 'We’ll e-mail you a copy of your invoice.'...Put on your hockey mask and break out the machete because the only way to eliminate that leftover fluff in your copy is to slash and gut it. Take some time away from your piece once you’ve completed your first draft so you can see your work from a fresh perspective. This will make it easier for you to spot the fluffy words and phrases...It’s easier to part with bad content if you think you’ll be able to use it again—even if you never actually do. It helps to have a second set of eyes look over your work to see if they can find any fluff you might have missed. Read your copy out loud to find even more extraneous writing to eliminate. Start with any section where you trip over your words or have to take a breath mid-sentence...Eliminating redundancy and fluff shouldn’t have an adverse effect on your tone, [but] it should just be a way to make sure your message isn’t being muddled and that your audience takes the action you want them to perform."
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