That extra 1 percent

26 Nov

Seth Godin, a client of ours, recently posted about finding the sweet spot when writing.  With tools like Twitter out there limiting our discourse to 140-character chunks, confusion among readers can exist more easily than ever.  The key is writing succinctly for the majority of readers, Godin says; reaching that extra 1 percent by writing longer prose to further explain your point will inevitably lose the others’ interests.

When I am helping clients and friends with copy, I almost always find myself chopping away at original text provided to me.  It’s wordier than necessary and reflects the organizational or personal goals of the WRITER rather than the goals of the READER.  They won’t read it.  They want bullet points and short paragraphs.

Plus, it’s typically super hard to persuade people that less is more; particularly when the original writer feels closely attached to the work.  In the end, we have to find common ground between satisfying the client and giving the reader what she’s looking for; it doesn’t always work perfectly, but chanting the mantra, “keep it simple (stupid)” is my best defense to help the majority of users “get it.”

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