Okay, mamas, it’s time to stop trying to sound smart when you’re writing.
This is because there is a difference between being smart and sounding smart. When you try too hard to sound smart, your readers will find your content a bit…smarmy.
Don’t get me wrong! You are smart (obviously, you’re reading this blog!) so there’s no need to invest needless time and energy in sounding smart.
The key to good blog content is writing clear and concise articles that are easy to understand and resonate with the reader. When the reader can walk away learning something, then you’ve done your job imparting your knowledge.
You don’t need to impress them with big words to showcase that knowledge – your voice, story and presentation of information will do all of this!
Just to hit the point a little harder, here are 3 good reasons why you should avoid big word energy in your writing:
1. It Takes Away from Your Message
When a reader has to stop to interpret a word or grab the nearest dictionary, they are not given an opportunity to absorb what you are actually saying.
Most of the time when a reader lands on your blog, they want to take in what you have to say without focusing on your writing. Just like using good grammar and spelling is crucial in writing readable content, avoiding big words is just as important.
Think about having a normal conversation in which you are trying to tell a friend a story. Do you find it hard to keep your train of thought when you are being continually questioned by the other person? Do you really feel like they are listening to what you’re telling them?
The same thing happens when readers are faced with big words that are unnecessary. Their train of thought is broken and their interest in what you have to say derailed.
Instead of thoughtfully nodding their head and saying to themselves, “Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm, she has a good point”, readers will instead scratch their temples wondering, “What is she trying to say here? I don’t get it.”
And, 99.9999999% of the time your reader will simply bounce from your blog and likely never return.
So just focus on the message you want to convey to your reader and keep your language clear and concise.
2. You May Come Off as Fake or Condescending
You don’t want to be using big words just to sound more photosynthesis.
Creating content, building a brand and using your voice are all crucial ways to build trust and loyalty with your readers. This is especially important if you are trying to sell a product/service or trying to generate leads.
When you come off as fake or, even worse, condescending, it turns your readers off and creates a sense of distrust.
In their minds, your fake language signifies perhaps the product/service/whatever you are urging them to participate in is fake as well.
When it comes to encouraging readers to buy what you’re selling, the key is to build a connection with them – to say, “Hey! I’m just like you and this worked for me!”
You don’t want to come across as all-knowing and push your readers into buying something because you know better – even if you are an expert.
This point kind of reminds me of that scene from Matilda with Danny Devito:
This is exactly the message you DON’T want to give to your readers – so just lay off the big words. 🙂
3. You Won’t Connect with Your Audience
Writing blog content is like having a conversation with your reader. You want them to feel as if you are sitting in the room with them, offering your sage advice.
The language has to flow like it would in a spoken conversation. When you start throwing in big words, you disrupt that flow and your reader begins to feel as if they are being talked at and not talked to.
Suddenly, that connection is lost and the reader loses touch with your voice and personality. They begin to distance themselves and lose trust in what you have to say.
This can be damaging to your niche and the growth of your site.
If you feel that you need to use a big word to properly explain your point, accompany that word with a brief explanation or synonym to help the reader understand what you’re trying to say.
This will help to maintain the flow of conversation.
Power Words You Need to Start Using
Now, I don’t want you to confuse big words with “power words”.
Big words are unnecessary technical or smart-sounding words people use to sound, well, smart.
Power words, on the other hand, are words bloggers use to elicit an emotion in the reader to entice them, excite them or encourage them.
These words should be used sparingly, and mostly in the title of your post, but they can create a huge impact on the reader. If used to much, you may come across as over-optimistic and sales-y.
Here are some examples of power words you can use in your blog titles (and sprinkled throughout your content):
- What they don’t want you to know
- Off limits
- Limited Access
- Behind the Scenes
- Black market
- Locked Away
- Cover up
- Limited Edition
- One Time Only
You can see how these words conjure up a range of emotions from excitement to curiosity to urgency.
And they’re not complicated words. On the contrary, they are very simple words that your readers will already have some sort of connection to.
KISS Me, Baby!
I don’t care what anyone tells you, the KISS acronym stands for Keep It Simple Stupid (not Silly, or Short and Simple, or Straightforward).
Not that it really matters, the point is the same – The simpler your writing, the more your readers will connect with it and absorb it.
So the next time your tempted to be more photosynthesis by adding big words to your writing, I implore you:
What do you do to keep your writing short and sweet and simple and straightforward? Share your tips in the comments below!