"Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well."

- David Ogilvy






If you've ever tried to describe the taste of an India Pale Ale (IPA), you know the descriptors vary.

Fact is, I've heard the majority of these adjectives as I'm lucky enough to live in a city where you see bumper-stickers on Priuses, Subarus and Volvos that read "Keep Portland Beered."

Which is to say locals get to choose from a ton of refreshing and ever-growing list of IPAs.

So what's this all have to do with upping your content?

Plain and simple, you want your words and ideas pared to the bone. You want your audience to come away with one singular but memorable thought.

For example, describing an IPA as "juniper-like."

Simplifying your message is how you connect with your receiver. That is, after you've developed empathy for your audience as I mentioned in my last post.

Unfortunately, this business of simplifying seems to be anything but easy. Too often we see our nonprofit and for-profit clients complicate their messaging.

Sentences that go on and on and on.

Labyrinth-like paragraphs that scare away a reader.

And jargon that puts the audience at "tilt" mode before they finish reading the title.

If you believe in conscientious communiciation, clarity is always your standard.  

So to that end, I offer three simple tips I've followed throughout my career courtesy of my favorite guru David Ogilvy. Here they are in his own words:

1.       Write the way you talk, naturally.

2.       Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.

3.       Never use jargon or pretentious words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

(From "Confessions of an Ad Man" by David Ogilvy)

If you follow these three simple rules, your message will be clear. And you will be communicating effectively to your audience.

In other words, giving them something to quench their thirst.