For some reason, when a lot of people sit down to create content, they turn into lawyers. They use big words and long sentences that they would never actually say out loud. It actually requires extra brain power to process what they are trying to communicate.

That’s when you lose people!

At a recent Downstream Business Community event, our conversation was on the topic of “Simplify to Amplify,” which can play out in many areas of our lives and businesses. But I think it is particularly important when it comes to creating content and talking about what we do.

I’ve been helping several clients recently with website content, and working on redesigning my own site as well (stay tuned!). Commonly, websites have WAY too much information on them. It’s a confusing web of pages with details about the company and the work they do. But it doesn’t actually draw people in or tell them what they should do next.

Here are three ways to simplify your content for greater effectiveness.

Keep it Conversational

For starters, your content should flow on the page the same way it does in conversation. In fact, your content IS a conversation between you and the reader or viewer.

This means shorter sentences and shorter words. Use contractions like “can’t” instead of “cannot.”

A good test is to read your content out loud and see whether it flows off your tongue. If you have to take a breath in the middle of a sentence, it’s too long! If you struggle over a word or phrase, shorten it or eliminate it.

Short and Sweet

In the case of website content in particular, less is more. Decide what the primary goal is, and communicate only what the visitor needs to know in order to take the next action.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the stuff you know about your work, your industry, your company. Don’t your visitors want or need to know this stuff?

The answer is probably NO!

At least they don’t need to know it all the first time they visit your website. In fact it makes things confusing and overwhelming, leading to high bounce rates and lost leads.

That’s what Nurturing Content is for! Share your knowledge and expertise with them over time through your blog articles and newsletters. But don’t try to cram it all onto your website pages.

It’s Not About You

Keeping the reader in mind helps you create content that is relevant and direct. Your content isn’t actually about you. It’s about THEM!

What do you know about them?

What can you do for them?

Perhaps your company falls into the trap of producing content that is about your work, your industry, using your jargon… and do you know who that attracts? Your competitors! Other people who are in the same industry looking for the same things.

In order to attract your prospective clients, you have to keep your content focused on their world and use their words.

Keeping things simple isn’t always easy. You’ve probably heard the infamous quote from Woodrow Wilson when he said “If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; If an hour, I am ready now.”

Saying things clearly and effectively takes some work. And it can be difficult to recognize if you are speaking your own language since it comes so naturally to you. It’s helpful to have someone from outside your industry or company to bring another perspective, and help prioritize the content and information that is really necessary.

Could your website content use an overhaul and simplification? Reach out to Content Creation Coach and find out how we can help.