The Simplicity of Great Writing

The simple ways are often the best, and the same applies to great writing. While many try to ‘elevate’ their content with elaborate sentence structures and fancy technical terms, the most successful writers engage more effectively with their audience by speaking directly – and that usually means, in as few words as possible!

Skilful writing doesn’t have to be over-complicated to make an impact. Take writers such as Hemingway and Orwell – it’s their stories that do the talking, not their complex delivery.

Compelling copy leads with purpose. Before putting pen to paper, it’s essential to first establish who you are writing to and why you are writing to them. Without homing in on these essentials, your message can become unfocused – clouded with wordy, unnecessary jargon.

Success starts with stripping things back to basics. Nick Jones, founder of Soho House, recently spoke at the Made by Dyslexia Global Summit, to praise the ways that his dyslexia has enabled him to “simplify everything” – a skill which has been influential to building his multi-million-pound empire. An ability to ‘trim the fat’, so to speak, provides clarity and direction; both of which are essential to writing captivating copy.

When we consider the fundamentals of coherent writing, we believe that it’s not just what you say – it’s how you say it. To achieve this simple and easy to follow writing style, accurate punctuation is key. Without an apostrophe here or a semi-colon there, what you’re discussing in your writing can easily be misconstrued. It’s so important to get right – take a look at our recent article, which provides a quick guide on how to punctuate perfectly.

Beyond the written word however, these same principles still apply. With the digital revolution, the evolving nature of media has called for an even snappier approach to communication. Take video, for example – compared with long paragraphs of text, video is far easier to digest and ultimately a more immediate and engaging way to speak to your audience. For this reason, when it comes to both the script and the on-screen text, it’s better to keep copy short and punchy – a picture is worth a thousand words, after all!

Other forms of media have also been adapted to accommodate for today’s ever-decreasing attention spans. Gone are the days where copy can be presented in large blocks, and with the introduction of the infographic – a simple visual representation of key information in a linear stricture – messages can now be communicated quickly and concisely. Non-existent when Shine first began, infographics are now a standard means of presenting informative content in a short but sweet manner. Take a look at this animation, for example – in only a few short sentences, the general gist of this article is already explained…

The power of visual communication cannot be underestimated. If a simple graphic can communicate a message as effectively as ten (or more!) lines of copy, it’s easy to understand why marketing is moving in a more visual direction. That’s not to say that the value of writing has diminished – it’s just that it has to be more streamlined in order to compete for the audience’s brain time.

It all comes back to that classic sentiment of ‘less is more’. If companies can get to the heart of what makes their message great, via whatever form of communication is appropriate, they stand the best possible chance of engaging with their audiences and creating a positive reaction. And that’s what we aim to do for our clients every day . . .


What are your thoughts on today’s changing forms of media? Do you still enjoy spending a Sunday morning, reading great lengths of work? Or would you rather process information as quickly and concisely as possible? Let us know over at @Shine_Creative…