#FreelanceFriday: How to Remove Unnecessary Filler and Fluff From Your Writing
July 14th, 2017 by
In digital marketing, it used to be good enough just to write content—about anything and everything. But now, and rightfully so, it is not enough for you to just have a well-written website. It needs to be one filled with original and high-quality content. What you write is important, but how you write it is equally critical.
So, with the ever-increasing demand for top quality content creation, how do you make your writing even better? How do you make your content stand out in the crowd of competitors?
One of the best (and easiest) ways to make your content more valuable is to remove any and all unnecessary filler and fluff from your writing. In general, filler is part of a sentence, whereas fluff refers to whole sentences in a piece of content that exist just to pad the word count, which ultimately dilutes the nutritional value of the overall content.
By focusing more on substance, your content becomes richer and more beneficial to the reader. Don’t pad your content with the superfluous; it just isn’t necessary. Visitors to your site come for information about your business, don’t allow them to get lost or bogged down sifting through content that is redundant or pointless.
Here are 6 ways to make your blogs better by removing unnecessary fluff and filler:
1. Create a Plan and Outline First
Your writing should always be clear and concise. When it comes to fluff, rambling is often one of the major culprits. Organization and planning (which can include creating an outline), will help you stay focused and avoid fluff even before it happens. It can also help to strategize any necessary research before writing.
2. Avoid Redundancy
Redundancy makes your writing dull and laborious to read. It can also reveal gaps in your knowledge of the subject. Required high word counts unnecessarily force many writers to say the same things over and over again instead of expanding on the topic. More content is worthless if it is redundant.
3. Nix the Common Knowledge
Removing fluff is not just about having a succinct and smooth writing style, it’s also about creating content that adds real value. Trying to make all content accessible to everyone is not only nearly impossible, but it also increases the risk of fluff. You cannot explain everything to everyone. Know your target audience going in and gear the writing toward them.
4. Remove the Unnecessary
You might be surprised by how many words you can easily cut from your writing. Focus on word economy over exceedingly descriptive or unnecessary exposition–which includes excessive adjectives, most adverbs, and qualifiers that can weaken your writing. Unnecessary words and phrases are easy to find and remove because they don’t change the meaning of the sentence when deleted.
5. Eliminate Complexity and Density
Unless you are writing content for a highly technical client or industry, overly complicated sentences with jargon should be avoided. If a reader has to reread a sentence to understand it, then it needs to be rewritten.
The same goes for overtly flowery language—it may seem well written, but it will make it harder to comprehend the meaning. The goal of your content should be to make it easy-to-read so that you can get through to the reader. Don’t bury your point in decorative language.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Edit Yourself
When editing, it is essential to detach yourself—and be merciless even. When giving your first draft a close second read, you will almost certainly find words and phrases that are completely unnecessary or misleading. Write, edit, repeat until your final draft reveals itself. Getting your point across should be your primary concern, while style remains secondary.
Improving your writing this way takes practice. First, you have to learn how to identify fluff and filler, and then you have to force yourself to remove it. The better you get at recognizing the unnecessary from the start, they less you will have to edit later, thus making you a better and more efficient writer.