Thanks for sharing this, Henneke. We’ve been making a big push lately to cut out the “fluff” in our copy, and the results have been outstanding. Will have to give some more of these tips a try — especially with our testimonials! I think most folks are hard-wired to give you the glowing testimonial, because they think it’s what will help you the most, and the linked story about asking the right questions is awesome.
After you write your first round of copy, read it out loud. Also, have someone else read it to see if they understand the message and the call to action. As you edit, cut unnecessary words and consolidate ideas. See if you can get your text down to 30 to 50 percent of what you started with. Also, include bullet points and possibly subtitles to make it easy to read-and, more important, easy to scan--as most readers scan a page before deciding whether or not to read all the details.
Podcasts. Michael Hyatt, author of the best-selling book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, practices what he preaches. His “This is Your Life” podcast is downloaded 250,000 times each month. As Hyatt elaborates on his blog post 4 Reasons You Should Consider Launching Your Own Podcast, “A podcast gives you visibility in a completely different world—primarily iTunes. I have had scores of new people say they had never heard of me until they stumbled onto me in iTunes.” Hyatt gives valuable information and advice in his podcast--all for free. But that podcast leads to more sales of his books, signups for his courses, and requests for him as a speaker.
I’m guilty of doing all of the above at one point or another. I think a lot of the time it’s the pressure to get up to a certain word count, whether for SEO purposes or because the employer has the idea that more content = better content. I think a lot of this fluff comes about from the quotas that are set. I know I run out of things to say when it comes to pots and pans.