Content Strategy

Don’t Keep Them Guessing: Get to the Point

get-to-the-point1A good storyteller knows how to give just enough information to intrigue the reader. But so often in business writing, we meander to the point and bury the lede.

When readers arrive from a social link, they’re even more apt to skim, giving your work just a few seconds to get to the point.

Master storytellers have several methods of engaging – and keeping – a reader. This morning, Tony Popowski on the Grass Roots Marketing blog shared 8 important reminders from Kurt Vonnegut. Two really resonated with me:

“Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.”

As a corporate marketer who spends hours on conference calls, this struck me. Few things are more frustrating than spending time in a meaningless, unproductive manner. But unlike corporate drones, your reader won’t hesitate to abandon – quickly – if they feel their time isn’t being used wisely.

“Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.”

Likewise – get to the point, and quickly. From there, you can (and should) bolster your point with additional details and justification. But if they only read the first paragraph/couple slides/page, your reader should get the gist of things.

What’s your top tip for keeping things simple and getting to the point?

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