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Whether you’re creating a blog, developing a content-marketing campaign or writing for social media, hard-hitting content is the key to success.

But how can you achieve it?

Sometimes, the idea of content is better than the execution. The problem isn’t with what you're saying, but the way you’re saying it. Sharpen that up and your content springs to life. 

Here are ten tips for freshening up your content to drive interest, engagement and social sharing. Copywriters swear by them, but anyone can use them. 

Keep it punchy

Three sentences is the optimum length for an online paragraph. The first sentence sets up the idea, the second develops it and the third hammers home the proof. See how I’ve used the technique throughout this post. 

Encourage skim-reading

Your paragraphs may be punchy, but people might still skim-read. To make sure your message gets through, use informative headings that summarise what you’re saying. Ideally, the reader should be able to get the broad sense of your argument just from the headings.  

Get straight to the point

A lot of posts and articles take so long to start that the reader’s bailed out before the plane gets off the ground. If you’re feeling frustrated with your draft, try deleting the first paragraph. The effect is dramatic and you’ll rarely go back. 

Talk to them

To make your text involving and immediate, address the reader as ‘you’. This post could have been about ‘the writer’, but by making it about ‘you’, I’m making you feel you have a stake in what I’m saying.

Do the same and you’ll engage your own readers from word one. 

Keep it real

Abstract vocabulary and concepts, like the ones manifested in this sentence, are challenging to comprehend. But vivid, colourful word-pictures, like the one I’m painting now, make it easy for readers to see what you mean. Use sensory-rich language to help people grasp your meaning and hear what you're saying. 

Write like you talk

When I am deploying formal language patterns, you do not feel warmly disposed to my communications. But if I’m using contractions like ‘I’m’, ‘it’s’, and ‘you’re’, it’s a lot easier for you to feel we’re getting along. To engage, be conversational. 

Be active, not passive

Clarity is not well served by passive constructions like these, which describe something 'happening to' something else. When you use active language, like this, your words feel immediate and engaging. Avoid the passive voice and take the direct route to meaning. 


Published 4 March, 2013 by Tom Albrighton

Tom Albrighton is a copywriter and contributor to Econsultancy. He blogs here and tweets here. You can also add Tom to your Google+ circles. 

16 more posts from this author

Comments (4)


Nick Stamoulis

I think long form content still has its place online. Yes, most people are going to skim and jump around but as you move down the buying cycle I think people want more and more information to make a better and more informed decision. I wouldn't give up on longer paragraphs completely; just know when to use them.

over 3 years ago



I agree that people are putting too much emphasis on now, when information in detail takes longer to tell than 3 words or sentences. People need to slow the way down and overcome the now aspect to get the quality that they want to solve their problem. The main issue is that an answer should not be summed up in the first sentence or paragraph but explained rationally.

over 3 years ago



Some of Econsultancy's other bloggers should take note! So often, opening paragraphs are about the blogger and littered with "me, I" etc. An audience wants to know what's in it for them, rather than a blogger harping on about their opinions, thoughts etc. Unfortunately, this isn't limited just to Econsultancy.

Thank you for the great tips Tom and for getting straight to the point!

over 3 years ago


Rudee Garrett

Oh boy, I am in trouble if I write like I talk. When I speak I am using my hands a lot. It is hard to come across the same way without using them. Since most people to skim read, it is important to have something catchy in your blog. There are so many blogs out there that you feel like you are reading a book report that you didn't want to do

over 3 years ago

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