Step one in journalistic writing is simple; less is more. When writing press releases, newsletters, pitches, blog posts and emails, brevity is key. No one wants to read an entire novel, nor do they have time to. In the article 8 Steps to More Concise Writing, Mark Nichol gives tips that that will help make your writing more concise.
- Remove redundancy – Avoid statements such as “late Monday night.” It’s already nighttime, so the reader probably is aware that it is late. The same rule applies with the unnecessary statements, “end result” and “free gift.”
- Reduce phrases to words – Modifying phrases, descriptive phrases and extraneous phrases can all be reduced with adverbs and adjectives.
- Omit gratuitous intensifiers and qualifiers – Unless an adjective or adverb is explained, omit using words such as “extremely” in examples like this: “I was extremely taken aback.”
- Expunge expletives – Do not use passive speech. “There are” and “there is” are weak ways to start sentences.
- Negative nominalizations – This is when a single verb can be used in a sentence instead of using it as a noun. Rather than saying, “The report gave an analysis of the accident,” just say, “The report analyzed the accident.”
- Delete superfluous phrases – Omit meaningless phrases such as “in the event of.” They’re not necessary and will make your writing more succinct.
- Avoid clichés – Well-known phrases do nothing for your writing besides add to the word count.
- Eschew euphemisms – Try to avoid phrases that disguise the meaning or concept of the language, unless done out of respect. For instance, “collateral damage” should be explained further but when discussing human disabilities, euphemisms are respectable.
Cutting out the unnecessary will make your copy flow more smoothly and makes it easier for your reader to comprehend and retain the information. Give it a try!