A 15-point checklist to ramp up your content marketing by tuning your writing style to attract, engage and retain more readers.

  1. Choose short, simple words. Try to stick to words of less than 4 syllables. Psychologists have shown that far from impressing people, the use of long words makes most people think less of the author.
  2. Write short, simple sentences.
  3. One topic per paragraph. Even if this means your paragraphs are single sentences.
  4. Use the active voice. Don’t have the blog written in a passive manner. It’s harder to read for people and weakens the impact of the statement.
  5. Aim for low reading level – preferably elementary school level, even if much of the vocabulary is technical. Obviously the ideas and concepts may be beyond the grasp of a child, but the writing should not be.
  6. Use tools like Grammarly and read-able.com to check your English structure.
  7. Make sure the first sentence answers the question “why/who would I want to read this?”
  8. Make sure the last sentence answers the question “what was the point of this blog?”
  9. Use stronger words, not more adjectives for emphasis – e.g. “crimson” rather than “blood red”. A thesaurus can help here.
  10. Always get someone else to proof read your work. We never see our own mistakes.
  11. Text is visual design. Think about the white space. This is “why” you should separate text into short paragraphs. This is also why bullet points and lists are effective.
  12. Choose your fonts. Fonts like Verdana and Georgia are designed with web resolution in mind. Proxima Nova is a popular modern alternative to Verdana, and Garamond likewise an alternative to Georgia.
  13. Make it personal with me, you and us.
  14. Keep a conversational style, but make sure your grammar is correct.
  15. Use bold to highlight key words and phrases.

This is a simple checklist, but one which you can easily apply and immediately start to reap the benefits of a more engaged audience.