10 tips to writing simply — from our summer interns

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Last Friday marked the end of another summer intern program at Siegel+Gale. While it’s always sad to see them go, we’re delighted that this year’s interns left us with 10 simple tips on how to implement our philosophy—simple is smart—in our writing.

“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” – Blaise Pascal

Reel in your audience
The average person reads about 20% of the words on a page. Your headline and introduction should pull the reader in and keep their attention.

Pave the path to simple
Know what you aim to say before you try to say it. Spotify CMO Seth Farbman recommends “[prioritizing] simplicity as an outcome.”

Say less, show more
A short and descriptive sentence is worth more than a thousand boring words. And it’s a lot easier to read.

Precision creates simplicity
Find the exact word that conveys your meaning, instead of settling for many unspecific words. You aren’t cheating by using a thesaurus. It can help you find a shorter, more compelling phrase.

Write like you talk
You’re not a robot and neither is your reader. Write conversationally by using contractions and pronouns. It’s more engaging for the reader, and the writer.

Go beyond the paragraph
Formatting helps you simplify and prioritize information. Bullets and headlines highlight what’s important while visually breaking up the content so your reader has an easier time deciding what to read.

Why > What
Why our clients do something is much more important to their audiences than what our clients do. By tying actions to outcomes, you show that your ideas are purposeful.

Stay active
Passive voice leads to confusing, long-winded sentences. Keep your writing punchy and clear by always using the active voice.

Put the reader first
When you’re an expert on a topic, there’s a lot you could say. Think first about the reader to determine what’s most relevant to them.

Study up
Nobel Prize wining physicist Richard Feynman believed that if you can’t explain a topic simply, you don’t know it well enough. We happen to agree!

A special thanks to this year’s brand communications interns, Hannah Lewman and Koyabi Nbiba, for their diligent work. 

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