Do your social media captions spark joy?
Marie Kondo is changing the way we fold towels and organise our books, so why shouldn’t her theories apply to words as well as possessions? Why not apply the KonMari approach to the way we write, leading always with empathy and stripping away the cliches and unnecessary words so our they can live their best persuasive life.
In her most recent newsletter Total Anarchy, (which I love by the way and think you might as well), Ann Handley suggests we all embrace the life changing joy of tidying up our writing, and shares some tips for getting started.
Ann’s words resonated, because like many enthusiastic small business operators, I get a bit excited when writing on social media (and everywhere), resulting in too many exclamation points and excessive use of the word ‘amazing’. Often I think, to the detriment of my main message.
If that happens to you too. Then come on, lets try and Marie Kondo the **** out of our captions, blog posts, newsletters, writing etc and see if the result is clear, successful copy all round. I think it will be.
How do you do it?
1. Visualise your ideal reader/person and de-clutter all the rest! Because if you write for everyone you write for no-one. So have a mental de-clutter leaving a clear idea of who you are actually creating content for, and do so with their needs in mind. With empathy – because our people want to be seen, valued and heard.
2. Write whateaver it is you need/want to write.
3. Walk away.
4. Come back, read it out loud to yourself and strip away the ‘clutter’. By this, I mean cliches, unnecessary and meaningless adjectives and adverbs (literally, basically, actually, very, seriously etc). Make sure the words you use are active, accurate and clear.
5. Feel the life changing joy of having tidied up your writing!
I know I know – this isn’t exactly the Konmari method. I have of course adapted to suit my message but hopefully you get the idea (write with empathy, write with clarity).
Golden rules of writing
And to finish, here are some more handy writing tips as set down by George Orwell in ‘Politics and the English Language’. I think they are gold.
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
More writing tips and resources
I share some ideas and tips for writing good social media captions in this post ‘A social media primer’