Fewer Words, Greater Impact

Ernest Hemingway, one of the great American fiction writers, had a few rules for writing. At the top of the list was “use short sentences.” Hemingway was known for his correspondent-style of prose, providing the reader with the clearest picture of the story using as few words as possible. An example is his famous six-word short story: “For sale: baby shoes, never used.” That’s a dramatic tale for just six words, but it makes a strong statement and it’s a multilayered thought. It also encourages a desire to seek further information. It’s the kind of lesson successful bloggers practice on a daily basis. The attention span of most people is relatively low, and competition for the immediate real estate in front of someone’s eyes is fierce. One of the ways you can capture that real estate is by offering content that compels eyes to follow. You can do this by keeping your message short. Brevity can be a blessing, and it is one of the keys to a good social media post—or stream of them. I talked about how to create simple and short posts in my tips on social media basics a few weeks ago, and I want to look at that a little closer. Twitter is great at keeping things concise because of its 140-character limit. You have to choose your words carefully and in doing so, you construct a short message that covers a lot of ground. Journalists have long relied on the “W-rules” to keep them on topic: who, what, when, where and why. Answering all those “W” questions about your event may be tough in a single post, but worth trying. For example, let’s say you want to create a post with a picture of your event venue (visuals are always a plus), and you want to use that post to drive registration. Instead of filling your tweet with the steps to sign up, include the link to that information and provide a detail that makes your event memorable or interesting. You want your posts to get to the point quickly. Use your social media platforms to provide scenes from the front lines with an informative and intelligent choice for every single word you use. Just mind the word count.   (Jens Büttner/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)