What do your readers want? Useful, beneficial information. What do you want? To build traffic, build your list, and sell products or services. Step though the 4 Cs-color, clarity, cut, and carat-to ensure your content is useful, beneficial, engaging, and keeps' em coming back for more. Remember, developing high-quality content is key for traffic-building strategies such as publishing articles, posting blog entries, and adding fresh content to your website to entice visitors (and search engines) to return again and again.
The 4 Cs: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat
My father, a jeweler, loved to look through a loupe into a diamond's brilliant, prismatic depth. Whenever he thought something was perfect, he likened it to "looking inside a diamond."
Even as a child, I could recite the 4 Cs to discern a diamond's quality: color, clarity, cut, and carat. Today, as a marketing consultant and copywriter, I use the same four Cs as a touchstone to improve my writing. And you can, too.
Replace commonplace verbs with active, colorful verbs. For example: "Broke again, Johnny had only two quarters in his pocket" versus "Broke again, two lonely quarters clinked in Johnny's pocket."
Tips to add color:
Watch for tired verbs -Be on the alert for ho-hum verbs and verb clauses such as: to be, to do, to get, to go, to have, to see, there is, there are.
Vibrant verbs at your fingertips! -Quickly replace stale verbs with precise, colorful verbs with the help of an online thesaurus:
-Microsoft Word (go to Tools / Language / Thesaurus)
-Merriam-Webster Online at http://www.Webster.com
Does each sentence say what you mean? Be specific, untangle lengthy sentences, and steer clear of the passive voice ("the ball was caught") when you can more effectively use the active voice ("Diana caught the ball").
More tips to add clarity:
Visualize your message -If you close your eyes, can you visualize the idea behind every sentence? Is every sentence as tangible and concrete as possible? If you can not wrap your arms around your message, neither can your readers. Rework sentences to ensure they're clear and concrete.
Sketch abstract concepts -If you're struggling to explain a technical or abstract concept, grab a pencil and sketch it. This exercise forces you to simplify and distill your idea and may spark helpful ways to present the concept to your readers.
Just like a skilled diamond cutter, you must trim excess material to let your message shine. For example: "The nostalgic charm of our town is somewhere as no where as evident for young and old alike as in the old-fashioned arcade" versus "The old-fashioned arcade evinces our town's nostalgic charm."
Tips to cut extraneous words:
Edit your copy -This is an important step in the writing process, even if you plan to hire a professional editor. Because extra words drown your message, it's critical to be as objective as possible during this step. Look for every opportunity to trim extra words, sentences, and even paragraphs.