Avoid fluff to increase your earning potential as a writer.
A tell-tale sign of a great writer is the ability to deliver complex thoughts in just a few words. Experienced writers understand that the writing process involves not only writing but careful editing, as well. By doing this, they can rearrange words and remove unnecessary language to develop concise, fluff-free content that flows smoothly and informs the reader in half the time.
Why is it Important to Avoid Fluff When Writing Web Content?
Fluff is the common term used to describe the use of unnecessary text. The words contribute no value to the content, thus requiring more effort on the part of the reader to extrapolate the information they seek.
Experts often view fluff as lazy writing because it proves that the writer did not take time to consider their word choice carefully. Instead, the onus is on the reader to sift through lengthy text and determine what is valuable and what isn’t. It’s not uncommon for website visitors to leave a page because the content did not add value to their reading experience quickly or thoroughly enough. Hence, pages with excessive fluff may not rank well in search engines due to a higher than average bounce rate.
If someone hires a writer to produce valuable content for their website, they want to ensure that every word they pay for has value. If the content hinders their SEO, they must either edit the content themselves or reject the content altogether. When writing for hire, every word must have value. Redundancy and filler content do not.
How to Avoid Fluff and Filler Text
There are a few practical habits writers can develop to help them produce concise, thought-provoking content in fewer words. It may take practice to learn how to avoid fluff, but the payoff is worth it. Writers who plan sentence structure carefully to avoid fluff can charge more for their services and can procure more long-term clients, as well.
Thoroughly Research the Topic
Writers should habitually research article topics even if they are well-versed on the subject. Research not only ensures that all content is accurate and timely but also helps ensure that they can speak at length about the topic at hand. With a clear idea of the information they wish to share, they can build an outline easier and avoid redundancy when they do.
Develop an Outline
Writers should always write from an outline. Outlines can help writers organize their thoughts, reference their sources, and stay on track when developing their content. I like to build my outline as I’m researching, using bullets to label subheaders, then expanding on them with information and source links to support each claim.
When developing the content, writers must always avoid redundancy. There is no need to drill a point into the ground. Make a statement and back it up with sources, but don’t repeat it ad nauseam just to make a point.
An example of redundant phrasing might look something like this:
“The Endocannabinoid system consists of various receptors known as the CB1 and CB2 sectors. These receptors make up the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for creating a state of homeostasis within the body.”
This sentence, though informational, uses many more words than necessary. A more concise approach might look like this:
“The Endocannabinoid System, which consists of both CB1 and CB2 receptors, helps create homeostasis in the body.”
Both sentences include the same information, but the second sentence uses half the words. It is clear, easy to read, and free of unnecessary repetition. As such, customers and website visitors will receive the second, more concise sentence better than the first.
Use Active Voice
Active voice puts the subject of the sentence on center stage. Passive voice, on the other hand, emphasizes the action rather than the subject. For example, “The writer developed this content” is active, whereas “The content was developed by the writer” is passive. In the first example, the writer is clearly the subject of the sentence. In the second example, the subject is vaguer (is the subject the content or the writer?). In a passive sentence, a verb acts as the subject instead of a noun.
Avoiding passive language is a great way to avoid fluff when writing. It takes a lot of practice, but applications like Grammarly can help. In addition to flagging basic spelling and punctuation errors, it will also flag common passive phrases, including words like “was,” “is,” and “were.” For example, whereas the sentence “Marijuana was considered a gateway drug” is passive, the phrase “Some considered marijuana as a gateway drug” is not.
Final Thoughts on how to Avoid Fluff
As a paid content writer, every word you use must have value. Customers do not want to pay for the words they don’t need and will choose their writers based on the quality of their content. Therefore, the best way to increase your pay rate and secure a steady flow of work is to produce content that is concise, informative, and free of fluff and unnecessary filler content.
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