Okay well not all writing is bulls@#*, but a good portion is. Josh Bernoff spoke on the subject at a Content Marketing Conference in Las Vegas last week. According to Josh about 40% or more of most writing is BS. Josh defines BS writing this way; you take the meaningful words and divide those by all words. So if I have 5 meaningful words, but 10 total words, my sentence is 50% BS. Let’s start with an example.
“Do you know where the previous origins of the spoken word bullshit come from friend? There’s an old historic fable that shares this very detailed and intricate history. Purchase our cheap, discounted and affordable video tutorial today for only $11 to find out the secret origins of this colorful, tasteful word.”
Did you find that example as terrible as I did writing it? That’s because 64% of that example was BS. Here’s how it would read without any fluff.
“Do you know where the word bullshit comes from? Purchase our video today for $11 to find out.”
Obviously this doesn’t make the example more compelling, but at least we got rid of the gag-reflux reaction from the first go-around.
Sadly, much writing today is full of BS. Who knows why. Maybe writers think “If I throw more words in my writing people won’t see how bad it sucks”. Your guess is as good as mine.
Josh offers some practical advice on how to clean your writing up. I’ll relate 3 quick tips here.
- Eliminate jargon your readers won’t understand from your writing
- Ex. My account manager suggested using more thumbnails in my design process. Becomes, my boss wants me to work on more drafts before I create a final.
- Cut out fluff words
- Ex. I deeply regret to inform you the Big Bang Theory is a very dumb show and not at all funny. This becomes; I regret to inform you the Big Bang Theory is a dumb show and not funny.
- Restructure your writing process
- Most people spend 80% of their time writing. This is not correct. Use around 40% of your time preparing to write (researching topic, audience, etc.) 35% writing and 25% editing. Following this process will help your writing be clear and single-minded.
There you have it. I promise you and your readers will enjoy your writing more if you cut all the BS out of it.
And remember, most bloggers are churning out content that’s 40% BS. I’m the only guy giving you a solid 70/30 legit writing vs. BS ratio ;). Visit me often friends.