REACHING THE WORD REQUIREMENT W/O THE FLUFF
By: Penny, EzineArticles Managing Editor
Overheard from an editor at EzineArticles:
I’m noticing some authors are having a hard time with the 400 word count minimum. When an article falls short of 400 words, they often just repeat their article body, summarize their main points over and over, add promo or add in filler sentences at the end of the article body just to meet the minimum.
As an editor, it’s frustrating because some of these articles have pretty good content. Then, it can be narrowed down to just one or two sentences that the author adds to the end of the body in order to meet the 400.
Adding 50 words of fluff on top of a 350-word article won’t get the job done. You never know which tip or strategy recommendation will make the difference or solve a reader’s problem. Adding just one extra tip or original thought is usually enough to boost them over the word requirement …
Any of this sound familiar to you?
Some authors go into their writing session with an outlined plan of how much space they want to devote to a particular topic. Or, maybe they free write and find new subtopics to explore while they’re in the middle of writing. This group rarely falls short of the 400 word requirement.
Others stay so focused and on point that they feel they’ve said everything they wanted to say before they reach that 400 word mark. The problem is that they then have to “fluff” up their writing to get it to reach our minimum word requirement.
All too often that leads to authors summarizing their main points multiple times, adding promotional content, moving up part of the Resource Box to the article or even just copying and pasting the last paragraph to reach that 400 word mark. (Eek!)
Avoiding the Fluff
If you’re one of those Expert Authors that finds themselves stretching for content by the end of each article, you could be at risk of having those articles rejected. Fear not, though, because today we have a few tips to help you avoid the fluff.
- List Key Points – Before starting, make a list of your key points. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown outline if you don’t want it to be. Just jot down the things you want to share. Then ask yourself, “Is everything on this list worth saying?” and “Are they powerful enough to warrant sharing?” Go above and beyond with your list. Add extra items to it.
It’s better to keep your idea list long and cut it down later than it is to end up short and scrambling to add something later. Plus, you could generate enough ideas to warrant another whole article.
- Adjust Your Focus – Think like a photographer for a minute. Once an experienced photographer has his sights on his subject, he adjusts his lens until the most important points of the image before him are in focus. The perfect picture has a balance in focus and activity. Although you might not think about it, you can think of writing in the same way. You, as the author, get to decide what to include and what to leave out.
As you’re writing, take a minute to think about how broad or narrow the subject is that you’re talking about so you can appropriately and effectively adjust your “lens” to create the perfect article.
- Know Your Stuff – Only write in niche areas where you are truly an expert. One of the worst things you can do is not know your subject area to the core through experience, thought and research. If you don’t, you could write yourself into a corner in a short article and not have enough content to get yourself out.
- Tell a Story – Relate yourself to your work. It can be really valuable for readers to hear real stories about how the subject matter has affected you and why it works. If your article is coming up a little bit short, add a personal story to the introduction or conclusion that drives home the points of your article.
- Avoid the Drivel – Don’t just drivel on in the summary to add words. Instead, add a completely new tip or caveat for your readers to think about. Offer your readers multiple options rather than just one. You never know which of your recommendations will make the biggest difference for them.
Use these tips to cut the fluff and stick to writing quality, original articles.
How else do you avoid the fluff? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.