Beware: All Writing Tips Are Not Created Equal

In this Article:

  1. Should These Words Be Included in Your Online Content?
  2. What’s the REAL goal when Creating Content?
  3. 3 writing tips to walk away with

Ok, so this is priceless!

I recently read an article giving writing tips to “Expert” Writers. It was suggested that they should know a particular list of 100 words. It’s assumed that when they know these words they would be an expert. Well, if you’re writing online, these words could put you out of business…fast.

Should These Words Be In Your Online Content?

Now, from a marketing standpoint, the kinds of words that I thought should be on that list, you know, normal everyday, emotion-triggering words that move a reader to take action, were nowhere to be found.

Instead, the list contained 100 $10 words that pretty much nobody is going to spend their time reading online!

Here’s a little sample of the words found on this list:

  • Amalgamate
  • Anachronism
  • Assonance
  • Belie
  • Criterion
  • Didactic
  • Egregious
  • Gamete
  • Homonym
  • Incongruous
  • Inculcate
  • Loquacious
  • Mnemonic
  • Obfuscate
  • Obsequious
  • Pedantic
  • Recapitulate
  • Supercilious
  • Unctuous
  • And Vacuous


Now, if you use most of these words in your articles, chances are pretty good that you’re going to alienate your reader. Or confuse them. And, it’s not because your reader doesn’t necessarily know the meaning of the words, or know how to look them up in the dictionary. Your readers are not stupid.

In fact, I would argue that your reader is smart enough to say (and read) what needs to be said (and read) without a lot of nonsense.

For example, when you’re writing and you want to express that someone is loquacious…just say they talk too much are that they babble on and on. Don’t force your reader to stop reading your article because they have to dig out their dictionary which is probably somewhere near their Yellow Pages.

What’s the REAL goal when Creating Content?

Tips for writing: Don't confuse your reader

Tips for writing: Don’t confuse your reader

Remember, they are reading your stuff online most likely when they are distracted. Most of the time they’re not hunkered down for some major studying. So don’t distract them even more with $10 words which only serve to impress yourself!

When you create content, the goal is to give information, answer questions, entertain, and solve problems. Unless you’re giving English lessons for words that most people don’t use, you really don’t need to talk in a language the most people don’t understand.

When you write…say it clearly, say it concisely, and use words that your reader uses.

Now at this point some of you may be totally disgusted at the thought of “dumbing down” your content for the “Average” Joe or Jane.

Well…get over it. You can communicate intelligently without those fancy words. And, just because a person doesn’t use $10 words in their everyday vocabulary doesn’t mean that they are not intelligent. That’s just silly.

Almost as silly as the reader comment for the article I read, which suggested that these $10 words would be helpful in print ads when you want to attract educated people because (as this reader’s logic goes) educated people have credit cards and “…It’s amazing how much a credit card increases the I.Q.”

Really? So the membership card to the “smart” club carries a “M/C” or “Visa” Label?

Yes…that was said!

Now I would challenge you to find a single print ad in the Copywriting Hall of Fame, ads that have earned business owners millions of dollars and have worked for years, that uses a bunch of $10 words.

3 Writing Tips To Walk Away With

Writing Tips: Communication can be Easy...write clearly

Writing Tips: Communication can be Easy…write clearly

Now, there are 3 things I want you to keep in mind as a result of this information:

1)    The purpose of writing is to communicate. When you use language that’s just not appropriate for your subject or your audience, you will fail to communicate your message. That’s a waste of time.
2)    Today, most people are reading your stuff on the internet – on a mobile phone, a tablet, or a laptop most of the time. They don’t want to spend that time jumping back and forth between your article and a dictionary…and they won’t!
3)    Don’t believe everything you read. While the list of 100 Must-Know words for Expert Authors was an interesting exercise in creating a graphic that should never be re-pinned, that’s about where its usefulness ends. Trust your gut. If something you read about writing tips or marketing online just doesn’t sound like it’s going to work for you…don’t use it.

In this particular well-meaning article, I think that the final word on the usefulness and clarity of this particular list of words is this: The author had to write a second article to clarify the position of the first article.


And if that’s not enough to convince you to use simple language in your content, the fact that search engines like Google are getting smarter, and improving semantic search, should.

OK, semantic could be a $10 word (I had to look up how to spell it correctly!). But basically they are looking at not just the keywords, but the meaning and intent behind the keywords that people are typing into the search box.

For example, if someone types in “bake a chocolate cake” then chances are a video demonstrating how to do that or a recipe for baking a chocolate cake is going to show up…even though the person didn’t type in “recipe” or “how to”. Ideally you won’t get a search result with a history of baking, or a picture of a cake.

Now I really doubt that there are a ton of people typing in $10 words into the search box. So, if you’re using them in your content because you’re trying to be an “expert” author by someone elses standards then chances are really good that you’re going to be the best writer than nobody ever heard of…literally!

Why? Because your content is never going to show up anywhere near the top rankings of any search engine.

We’ll talk more about Google semantics.

For now, the Bottom line: Say what needs to be said as clearly and concisely as possible with language that makes sense to your reader. Focus on great communication when you write…and leave those $10 words for Jeopardy!

Your Turn:

What do you think about using fancy words in your content creation? Leave your comment below or email me directly…I’d love to hear from you!  [email protected]


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