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Avoid the Fluff: How to Trim Your Content and Deliver Your Message

What Is Content Fluff?

Content fluff is filler words and language that do not provide the reader with any valuable information and may simply be used to fill a page. Sometimes a reader will finish a fluff-filled piece without understanding the information they were supposed to be given or even remembering what they just read. Fluff is especially frowned upon in content marketing, as companies are looking for SEO friendly pieces that are easy to read and get the information to the customer as quickly and easily as possible.

Why Do Writers Have a Tendency to Add Fluff to Their Writing?

Writers who use fluff usually do so for one (or all) of three reasons.

  • The influence of academic writing — For academic writing, fluff is commonly encouraged not only to lengthen the piece but to use more sophisticated and complicated language that is often thought to show a higher level of education to researchers and professors.
  • To seem more educated or enlightened — More complicated wording, long descriptions, and the adding of unneeded words and language is often an attempt to show a higher level of education, knowledge of the English language, or enlightenment about the material. This often stems directly from academic writing.
  • The writer is unsure of the topic they are discussing — A more common reason that writers will resort to fluff in their content outside of the academic setting is that they are unsure of their topic, and they are fumbling to fill out the word count.

Why Do You Want to Avoid Fluff in Content Marketing?

As mentioned above, fluff should definitely be avoided in the realm of content marketing. Here are some of the more important reasons:

  • It fails to provide essential information — Content marketing is a means of providing readers with information relevant to a company’s product or service as well as information that they will find useful and that will make them come back to the site or share it with others. Overly wordy content or fluff that provides little valuable information will often ruin the site’s reputation as an authoritative source and may squander the chance of a second engagement from the customer.
  • Fluff can cause confusion in the customer — Sometimes fluff can cause the consumer to be confused about information that you are trying to provide them. If they have difficulty understanding what they are reading, they may move on and be less likely to return to the site as a resource. Additionally, you may also fail to educate them about your product or service or entice them to learn more.
  • It can make the information take longer to read — The truth is, in the world of content marketing, you have only a short time in the reader’s attention span to engage them and deliver the information you are trying to explain. Because of this, content should be easy to read quickly, which is often aided by bulleting or breaking up content by headers. Content that is hard to read will often get bypassed before it has even been fully scanned.

How Do You Avoid Fluff or Remove It From Your Content?

Image via Flickr by bark

Now that you know the importance of avoiding fluff in your marketing content, here are some of the steps you can take to keep it fluff-free.

Focus on the Value of the Content 

The most important thing you can provide to readers of your content is information that is valuable to them. Therefore, make sure you start by touching on necessary points to get your message across. You can then build your content around this foundation of valuable information

Be Direct

Your sentence structure should use active voice whenever possible and get the point across as soon as you can. Beating around the bush or laying out a lot of information the reader already knows will simply drag out the point and possibly lose the reader.

Avoid Too Much Jargon

While some jargon may be necessary for certain pieces, avoid it when you can. Too much industry lingo can make the reader uncomfortable or cause them to wonder about words they may not know the meaning of, which can slow down their reading, make the piece more difficult to process, and even cause misunderstanding.

Read Your Piece Aloud

Many writers may find this awkward, but it is a great way to test the readability as well as identify any awkward sentences or sections that are fluff. You should be able to quickly read content pieces aloud without repeated stops to ensure that they are clear and to the point.

Avoid Complicated Words

This habit goes back to academic writing, when teachers wanted you to expand your vocabulary and use what was considered higher-level word choices. These words can not only make information more confusing, but they may turn readers off by seeming pretentious instead of relatable.

Leave Out Low Impact Words

An essential part of content marketing is making sure that every word works toward achieving your goal of providing the reader with valuable information. There are many words in the English language that have little impact on the sentence or idea, such as “very” or “extremely.” Cutting these unnecessary words out will help improve the flow and readability.

Try Not to Be Redundant

If you have already stated information, there is no need to continually restate the same thing in an attempt to give the information more impact. If the idea is the central part of your piece, you should be able to state it once and then reinforce it with supporting facts and information rather than simply restating it throughout the piece.

Avoiding fluff in your content can help it stand out and entice your readers to share or re-engage with your site to gain more of the information that’s valuable to them. If you need help with your content marketing, consider outsourcing your content creation to a team that knows how to make every word count.

About the author

Melissa Furreura