‘Fluff’ is a term many people have heard before, but most don’t really know what it means, or why it’s considered bad in the writing business. Today, we’re here to talk about why you should avoid fluff writing at all costs, and exactly how you can go about it!
What Even Is Fluff?
Fluff is a general term used to describe any content that doesn’t contribute much, if anything, to the blog or article you’re reading. It’s stuff like unnecessary filler words and sentences that drag on for whole paragraphs – they contain very little valuable information, and the content wouldn’t lose any value if they were removed.
Obviously, having a lot of fluff in your writing will lower its quality, and may end up losing you a lot of readers. That’s because you’ll be taking a lot longer to get information across to your readers, and let’s be honest, nobody enjoys having to scroll through a 1,000-word long blog post that could be summarized in about 500 words!
Removing fluff from your work will also just make you sound smarter and more reputable. Using specific and concise language will make you sound like an expert on the topic, making it easier to gain your readers’ trust and to rank higher in search results.
It can be easy to fall into a habit of adding as many words as possible into your text to try and meet the word count quicker. That’s why we’ve compiled some simple ways to remove fluff from your writing, and techniques you can implement to get out of that habit!
Avoid Using Jargon
Using jargon is basically creating a long sentence or a paragraph out of something that can be summarized in a few words. While this does sometimes benefit your writing if the topic you’re covering is very complex and needs a lot of explaining, it usually just makes it harder for your reader to understand you.
When writing content, you should try your best to summarize everything as concisely as possible. You can throw in some longer explanations here and there to add variety to your text, but overall stick to shorter explanations.
Cut Back On Those Adjectives
In school, we were all taught that using lots of adjectives can make your writing more descriptive and exciting. However, when writing as a professional, there is a certain limit on how many adjectives you should be using.
Including too many adjectives in your writing will make the text seem very exaggerated, which often makes readers distrust the content – the more you have to emphasize how ‘amazing’ and ‘innovative’ something is, the more likely it is that the product or service is actually quite mediocre.
Whenever you’re writing, take a moment to read your text out loud, counting each adjective you come across. If you find that you’re using more than 3 or 4 in each paragraph, you’re probably overdoing it, especially if the paragraphs are relatively short, and should consider editing some of them out.
Stick To The Basics
While it may be tempting to start using longer and more complex words in your writing to make it seem sophisticated, it can actually make your content more tedious to read. Fluff isn’t just about using too many words – using unnecessarily complicated language counts as fluff too, and can actually be more harmful to your work than extra words!
Unless you’re writing a piece for an academic or highly professional target audience, your best bet will be to stick to simpler words that you would use in your everyday speech. Now, we don’t mean slang (unless slang appeals to your specific target audience), but natural-sounding words and sentences.
Avoid using a thesaurus when writing if you can. You’ll develop a habit of trying to find new and more impressive words for almost everything you write, which usually ends up with your writing sounding absolutely ridiculous to the average reader. Like we’ve already recommended, read your content out loud and remove anything that sounds too unnatural.
Stay On Topic
While this tip may seem obvious to most, it’s actually pretty easy to accidentally veer off-topic when writing content, especially if it’s meant to be more casual and blog-like. Writers tend to try and add some extra information that isn’t really related to the topic at hand, or worse, tell some personal anecdotes or jokes throughout the text when they’re really not needed.
Now, we’re not saying to completely avoid using humor or adding some personal stories into your writing – these little personal touches are often what readers enjoy about their favorite writers. We just mean that going off-topic and using up 500 words to rant about your latest shopping trip may not be the best move when you’re writing a guide to buying garden furniture, for example.
Write out all of the information you need to get across to your readers first, then take a moment to read through it. If it sounds too stiff and impersonal, try adding in a few jokes or mentions of your private life, but only if it will fit with the intent and style of the piece – never try to include stuff like that in professional or academic pieces. Also, don’t rely on these additions to meet your word count goal. If anything, you should aim to meet that goal before adding anything in.
Get Right To The Content
Having a good introduction for your piece is pretty important – it introduces the main points and intent of your content, letting readers decide if it’s worth reading. However, letting that introduction drag on for multiple paragraphs is a huge mistake, as taking too long to get to the actual content will bore your readers, and make your content appear less reputable.
Try to be as concise as possible, sticking to just one short paragraph if you can. A really easy way to do this is to list one or two questions your readers may have before reading the content, then letting them know how you will be answering them. Or better yet, use a short question or a simple statement about the content, and leave all the information for the main body of the text.